Giving NH vets better oral health care

In the last few months, I became aware that most oral health and dental services for Veterans at the Manchester VA Medical Center have been eliminated. While the reasons are complicated, and there are some exceptions, many veterans who rely on care from the VA were left on their own to find treatment. One way to make our veterans feel appreciated is by making sure they receive the dental care they need.

If businesses, nonprofits and private citizens make this a priority, and work collaboratively, more veterans will improve their oral health, and, because of the well-documented linkages to overall health, the quality of their lives.

With this in mind, I dove into the issue and reached out to some of our terrific member dentists, a good number of whom are veterans themselves. Led by Dr. Mitch Couret of Manchester, a small group of dentists started seeing and treating veterans who needed care, in some cases rather urgently. It’s gratifying to see partners working together to help our military heroes.

It’s not my intention to place blame on the compassionate staff at the VA Medical Center, who do their best with limited resources to work through a system that too often gets bogged down. Northeast Delta Dental can be more agile in working to ensure that more veterans are treated, both through our business initiatives and our community giving. For example, we provide financial support to the Easterseals NH Oral Health Center in Manchester.

On Friday, Nov. 10, the Easterseals NH Oral Health Center, at 555 Auburn St., will host a Veterans’ Appreciation Day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. Shannon Farrell of the Oral Health Center, told me that her dad, a veteran who had received two Purple Hearts, passed away recently. Offering free dental treatment both honors her dad and thanks other veterans. Free emergency dental care is available, and free cleanings will be offered as time allows. Appointments are necessary. Call 603-621-3586 to schedule treatment.

As a business, one of the ways we help veterans with their oral health is through the availability of the Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Program (VADIP), a national dental insurance program for veterans enrolled in VA health care. This program is designed to offer veterans the best value and service available very affordably. Contact me, or someone on our team, to learn more about VADIP.

Please contact me directly if you want to learn more and become more involved in providing oral health services to veterans.

Tom Raffio is president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental in Concord.

Categories: Opinion