Dental Clinic Planned for Minneapolis Veterans Home is Nation’s First
ST PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) today announced plans for construction of the first fixed dental clinic in the country on a State Veterans Home property. Through a unique public/private partnership with Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund (V4V) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Minnesota Chapter, the Minneapolis Veterans Home will be able to better serve Veterans by providing critical restorative dentalcare and an enhanced focus on oral healthcare.
“This first-in-the nation partnership will help Minnesota Veterans access high quality dental care,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I thank Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation for their commitment to Minnesota Veterans and their families. Veterans make great sacrifices on behalf of our state and nation. This unique partnership will connect them with the care they need.”
MDVA received three major grants for this project, including $100,000 from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, $60,000 from V4V, and $50,000 from the DAV Minnesota Chapter. Conversations began last year with the foundation and Dr. Bruce Templeton, the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Dental Chief. After hearing about the plans for their innovative solution, both V4V and the DAV also pledged financial support. Construction is expected to begin immediately, with completion estimated in the spring of 2018.
“When it comes to serving Veterans, I am continually inspired by the dedication of the leaders and staff on my team – and by the commitment from our partners. When we work together, all Veterans win,” said Larry Shellito, MDVA Commissioner. “This new dental clinic will bring more comprehensive oral health care right to our Veterans most in need.”
In the skilled nursing setting, most models, including the Minneapolis Veterans Home, rely on mobile clinic dentistry programs to provide care. Challenges with mobile clinics include limited procedures, cost and time for setup and teardown, adequate space, durability of equipment and infection control. This innovative program will address all of those challenges and more, including a special focus on an interdisciplinary team approach to oral health care, serving Veterans Homes Residents in a familiar environment with staff support, specialized equipment that better serves those with cognitive impairments and physical disabilities, and a dental staff with expertise in dementia care and challenging behaviors.
“Meeting those in need where they are is a crucial factor in expanding access to oral health care across Minnesota, “said Joseph Lally, Executive Director of Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. “Because it can be difficult for this population to get to a dentist, we partnered with the Veterans Home to bring dentists to their Residents. We are pleased to help establish this first-of-its-kind fixed dental clinic, which will provide quality dental care to so many Minnesota Veterans who have served our country.”
A very small portion of Veterans are eligible for dental benefits through the VA Health Care System due to strict eligibility criteria. Veterans must be 100% service connected disabled through the Department of Veterans Affairs, or have a documented dental injury from their time in service. Because of the significant private pay cost, most Veterans who reside at the Minneapolis Veterans Home rely on other benefits or privately pay for dental services.
This new dental clinic puts MDVA in a unique position to assist Veterans in need in the State Veterans Home, and in the community. In addition to Residents at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, this clinic is expected to serve Residents at the nearby Hastings State Veterans Home and Veterans referred through the VA Hospital system.
MDVA is also considering similar projects for the Veterans Homes in Silver Bay, Fergus Falls and Luverne.
he Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is a cabinet level state agency dedicated to serving Minnesota Veterans and their families. In addition to overseeing the five State Veterans Homes, MDVA helps eligible Veterans and families secure state and federal benefits and provides programs and services relating to higher education, benefits, burial, claims, outreach and Veterans employment. Veterans and their families are encouraged to visit www.MinnesotaVeteran.org or call 1-(888)-LinkVet for more information about benefits.
About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation
In 2009, Delta Dental of Minnesota’s parent sold a company and used 100 percent of the proceeds to fund Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. The foundation supports Delta Dental of Minnesota’s mission of improving the health of Minnesotans through oral health. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation expands access to dental care for Minnesota’s underserved populations across the state by investing in programs and organizations that provide dental care to people in need. Since 2011, the
Media contact Goff Public: Chris Duffy Cell: 612-599-7982 Duffy@goffpublic.com