Members Making a Difference
Doctors with a Heart - York
Members of the York County Dental Society participate in a unique day of giving each February: “Doctors with a Heart Care Day.” The program, started by Dr. John J. Blevins in 1986, has continued to run successfully over the years in treating patients who are faced with the challenge of being uninsured, not qualifying for public assistance or just being unable to afford basic dental care. As of 2014, over 3,550 people have been treated through this initiative.
Care Day is not limited to just one day. It usually spans a 10-day time period around Valentine’s Day, with each participating member’s office selecting a day they wish to contribute. On average, 12 – 16 offices donate their services to the program.
In the beginning of the year, social service organizations are given the first notice of when and where treatments will be available so they can refer clients who may benefit from the program. Then in mid January, the program becomes open to the general public when it is announced in the local newspaper. The announcement includes a list of participating dental offices along with the date, times and types of services they will offer.
Depending on the office’s preference, patients’ may have the options of scheduling appointments ahead of time or simply walking-in on the day of. Some offices choose to limit treatment to children, while others open it to both adults and children. Treatments are provided free of charge and range from general exams to treating a specific problem. Patients also are counseled regarding continued dental care at the end of the appointment.
Dr. Blevins says, “The dentists appreciate their patients concern with maintaining their dental health. They feel this is a way to give back to the community in a special way. The ‘thank you’ we receive on Care Day makes it all worthwhile.”