Donors Get Behind Charity Dental Care

A dozen donors have contributed toward a new initiative called Share the Care.

Dr. Charlie Hapcook

UConn’s School of Dental Medicine is the safety net for Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents—low-income adults and children—providing more than $5.5 million in charity and non-reimbursed dental care annually since 1968. Donors are now stepping up to support the cause.

A dozen donors have contributed toward a new initiative called Share the Care with gifts ranging from $20 to $10,000. Eastern Dentists Insurance Company has come in with the largest gift of $10,000 so far. As President and CEO Dr. Charlie Hapcook explains, EDIC is run by dentists for dentists (with the trademarked slogan “By Dentists, For Dentists”), with a mission to invest profits back into the field of dentistry for the betterment of the community.

“Most insurance companies are profit-driven. Our mission is a little bit different,” Hapcook says. “Our company was founded 20 years ago when there was a medical malpractice crisis and difficulty getting coverage. Our company is controlled by the dentists we insure, and our profits support the profession and the public that we serve.”

The company looks for schools, organizations and programs that will provide the best return on investment for both patients and the dentistry profession. EDIC has been contributing toward academic medicine at the UConn School of Dental Medicine for the last 16 years.

“We exist to support the good of dentistry. We think making a gift toward Share the Care is an opportunity to take the lead in kicking off this program and making it easier for others to join in to help people who would not normally get dental care.”

Harriet Wolfe ’76

The school treats more than 92,000 patients annually at nine clinics at the main campus in Farmington and two pediatric clinics in Hartford at the Burgdorf/Bank of America Health Center and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Another 49,000 patients are seen by UConn providers at 17 community health centers around the state. In 2012, the school rolled out an initiative to integrate oral health care with primary health care at the dental center at the UConn Health Partners facility on Kane Street in West Hartford.

The cost of providing charity care is substantial: $1.1 million in charity care and more than $4.4 million in non-reimbursed care annually. Furthermore, non-recoverable costs are expected to increase 2 to 3 percent annually. Philanthropy is helping offset the costs associated with providing dental care to Connecticut’s uninsured and underinsured residents.

The initiative appealed to Harriet Wolfe ’76, executive vice president and general counsel of Webster Financial Corporation. Wolfe earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn, and now serves on the UConn Foundation Board of Directors.

“I think this program is wonderful. It serves as a safety net for many who otherwise would be unable to afford proper dental care,” says Wolfe, who supports the program. “Dental care is important to overall health, and often goes unaddressed by those on a fixed or limited budget and by those who are uninsured or underinsured. I was pleased to be able to offer my support for such a worthy program.”

To support the UConn Health Center, contact the UConn Foundation’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations.