More than 1,800 underserved adults and children throughout north and central New Jersey will now have consistent access to affordable, high quality dental care, thanks to a new mobile dental clinic launched by Zufall Health.
The Zufall Delta Dental Mobile Van debuted at a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 10 attended by state and local dignitaries at Zufall’s newly renovated Somerville office. The event also commemorated National Health Center Week.
“This dental van will allow Zufall to bring greatly needed services directly to our most vulnerable populations, especially to those living in rural areas or who otherwise cannot get to one of our six dental offices,” said Eva Turbiner, Zufall’s president and chief executive officer. “It is particularly meaningful that we are beginning this new program during National Health Center Week which, this year, celebrates ‘Innovators in Community Health’.”
A dental clinic-on-wheels has long been on Zufall’s wish list, according to Dr. Sam Wakim, chief dental officer at the nonprofit community health center. Having provided limited dental services on Zufall’s medical van for some time, he said a sustainable, efficient solution was needed to improve patients’ access and provide them with a permanent dental home.
“Not only will our van reduce barriers to care such as cost and transportation, it will improve the level of care and regularity we can now provide,” he said.
The 39-foot, state-of-the-art mobile unit has two fully equipped operatories utilizing cutting-edge technology and will accommodate comprehensive preventative and restorative dental services. At a cost of $350,000, it has been funded by primary sponsor Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Partners for Health Foundation in Montclair.
“As the leading dental health benefits company in New Jersey, it is Delta Dental of New Jersey’s mission to promote oral health to the greatest number of people by providing accessible dental benefit programs of the highest quality, service, and value,” said Dennis G. Wilson, president and CEO, Delta Dental of New Jersey. “It is with great pride that we carry out that mission by helping our longtime Foundation partner, Zufall Health, provide underserved New Jersey populations with access to dental services they would otherwise not receive.”
“Partners for Health has long recognized oral healthcare as an area where access to care is compromised,” said Pam Scott, executive director of Partners for Health Foundation. “In addition to a focus on children and seniors, the van will provide clinical services to residents of public housing, homeless individuals and families, and veterans, which will go a long way in addressing the oral health needs of the communities we serve.”
The van, which will be manned by a general dentist and support staff, will operate five days a week, spending one full day in the Montclair area and the rest of the week at sites throughout Zufall’s north and central New Jersey service area including its Somerville office. While its primary focus will be low-income children and seniors, it will also serve populations including farmworkers, veterans, the homeless, public housing residents, and school children. Services will be charged on an income-based sliding fee scale. NJ Family Care insurance plans and some Delta Dental plans will also be accepted.
Organizations interested in information about scheduling a van visit to their site can contact Michelle Blanchfield, director of Outreach and Special Populations, at 973-328-9100 Ext. 323. Patients who want more information about eligibility and the van’s schedule can call dental van manager William Torres at 973-329-3344 or visit www.zufallhealth.org.
In commemorating National Health Center Week in New Jersey, Zufall joins 22 other community health centers who are being recognized for their achievements as critical health care safety nets for state residents. Last year, they collectively served more than 481,000 individuals in 1.6 million visits.
About Zufall Health
Zufall Health is a not-for-profit, state-licensed community health center that has been providing high-quality, affordable medical and dental treatment to the working poor, uninsured, and underserved for over 25 years. More than 30,000 patients are served at its headquarters site in Dover as well as medical and/or dental offices in Morristown, Hackettstown, Flemington, Somerville, West Orange, Newton, and on its Highlands Health Van. For more information, visit zufallhealth.org.