Dental OPTIONS – Ohio Partnership to Improve Oral Health through Access to Needed Services – is a program provided through a joint partnership between the ODA and the Ohio Department of Health that helps eligible, low-income uninsured adults in Ohio obtain access to dental care by linking them with volunteer dentists.
Receiving quality dental care is important, but many Americans must often choose between dental care and other daily living expenses – and dental care is often sacrificed.
Organized dentistry in Ohio has been visionary in improving access to dental care – responding to this need with statewide programs that provide needed access to oral health care to qualified individuals.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has contracted with the Dental Lifeline Network to operate the Dental OPTIONS Program.
We are proud of our Dental OPTIONS Milestones.
Since the Dental OPTIONS program started in 1997:
- Reported volunteer dentist treatment values: $21,501,209.
- Completed patient cases: 12,161.
- Total reported lab service value: $661,760.
- Enrolled dentists (as of 2017): 929.
Who is an OPTIONS patient?
Dental OPTIONS provides donated care to the elderly, people with disabilities or compromising medical conditions, and discounted dental care to low-income Ohioans with minimal financial means and/or severe dental needs, who do not have dental insurance or qualify for Medicaid.
Patients will be pre-screened by the Dental Lifeline Network, which will then match them up with a volunteer dentist to receive care.
How to become a Dental OPTIONS Provider
The process to join is easy and you set the level of participation. You decide the number of patients to see each year and the frequency; and the type of patient – elderly on a fixed income, working poor, single parent, disabled, and so on. You also decide whether to accept patients eligible for donated or discounted care or both.
You do the dentistry. Regional referral coordinators handle the paperwork and other administrative tasks of the program, which can include:
- Handling preliminary phone calls.
- Referring callers to other community resources if not eligible for OPTIONS.
- Reviewing applications to determine eligibility.
- Making initial contacts with the dental office regarding the patient, working with patients to ensure follow-through with care, and adherence with guidelines of the program.
- Collecting treatment values from the dentist, and more.
You can participate by providing care on a discounted fee or donated basis, or both. For dentists who provide donated care:
- Laboratory fees for donated care patients are covered through the OPTIONS program.
- Dentists who provide donated treatment are eligible for up to one third (13 hours) of their Ohio State Dental Board (OSDB) biennium CE requirement through volunteer CE at a rate of one hour of clinical volunteer service equating to one CE credit hour.
As an OPTIONS dentist, you will make a difference to someone in need in your community!