Delta Dental awards $50,000 to city clinic

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 5, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Delta Dental insurance of Tennessee has awarded a $50,000 grant to Keystone Dental Care to help the nonprofit clinic provide dental care for uninsured working adults.

Diane Dempsey, executive director of Keystone Dental Care, said the grant will underwrite the cost of approximately 2,000 patient visits, or nearly half of the 4,000 to 4,500 patient visits provided by the clinic annually. With the $50,000 grant, Dempsey said the clinic will be free to use other funding resources to purchase needed supplies and equipment.

Missy Acosta, vice president of marketing for Delta Dental Tennessee, said the grant is part of a total of $300,000 the company awarded to nonprofit organizations in Tennessee last month, and part of a larger Delta Dental initiative to improve access to oral health care for low-income children and adults across the state.

Tom Perry, Delta Dental Tennessee’s senior vice president and CFO, said dental health is the company’s mission and the motivation behind its presentation of 20 percent of its net revenues to dental schools and to nonprofit organizations, including a total of $1.7 million in grant awards presented by the company during 2011.

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, who recommended Keystone Dental Care for the grant, said dental care for uninsured adults is one of the nation’s most underserved needs.

Roe said he was in Washington working on the tax cut extension and had just reviewed the many cuts included in the new federal budget when he received a letter from Perry inquiring about nonprofit organizations in East Tennessee that could use the $50,000 to improve access to dental care for low-income residents of the region.

“When a I read the letter, I almost flipped,” Roe said. “With all the cuts we’re making, here was a company that wanted to give away $50,000. I knew exactly where this could go so I called Keystone and I called Tom in Nashville and I hooked them up.”

Roe thanked Keystone Dental Care’s volunteers for meeting the need for dental care here and Delta Dental for supporting Keystone and other nonprofit organizations in communities across the state.

“What you do speaks volumes,” Roe said.

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