The health screenings, for such conditions as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, will be provided through a mobile coach that will come to the clinic on a regular basis. At the same time, Mercy Care Services, a federally qualified health clinic that also includes a dental facility, will outsource its denture services to the specialists at the BMDC. By partnering with the BMDC, it will be able to meet the needs of its clients more efficiently. The clinic offers specialized services such as periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics and oral surgery as well as general dentistry to indigent Atlantans.
“It’s really exciting that someone can come into the clinic with a toothache and leave with a full health screening,” said Gary Miller, CEO of Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS), the parent organization for the BMDC. “It has always been a key goal to move beyond dental care to provide overall healthcare.”
The decision was driven by the reality that the patients who come into the BMDC often have not only dental problems but other health issues that need to be addressed. Over the years, the clinic has added amenities such as a licensed social worker on staff. But new services come with a cost, and one of the pluses of this agreement for the BMDC is the promise of a revenue stream to support its operational needs.
“Right now, demand is very high and our resources are scarce,” said Rick Aranson, Chief Operating Officer at JF&CS. “These funds will help pay for the services we provide and build the clinic’s capacity to serve more Atlantans in need.”
Saint Joseph Mercy Care Services is one of about 20 providers that partner with the BMDC. Mercy Care Services provides medical and dental care to more than 10,000 patients a year at its 11 clinic sites with a specific focus on the homeless. Tom Andrews, President of Mercy Care Services, is equally excited about the new collaboration. “Addressing the needs of the homeless requires significant collaboration with other agencies, especially during these tough economic times. We have always had a very positive informal relationship with Ben Massell and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
The BMDC, which turns 100 years old this year, started out as a primary health clinic in downtown Atlanta. A dental clinic was added in 1929, and it eventually evolved into a full-time dental clinic. It moved into its current location, a state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-certified facility on 14th Street, in 2008. This development brings everything around full circle.
The BMDC depends on its corps of volunteer dentists, both general and specialized, and hygienists, and is always looking for new ones. Those who would like to join us should please contact Keith Kirshner, the practice manager at BMDC, at 770-677-9461.
Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that offers a variety of programs and services to people in metro Atlanta, providing tools for living to individuals and families of all ages and needs. Having provided social services to the greater Atlanta community for 120 years, JF&CS has grown to serve more than 30,000 individuals annually. The agency currently manages more than 40 programs without regard to age, race, religion, national origin or ability to pay. For more information, call 770.677.9300 or go to www.YourToolsForLiving.org.