Family Service of Rhode Island joined with Delta Dental of Rhode Island this month to announce a $10,000 Brighter Futures sponsorship that will support programming to improve wellbeing and foster safe homes for children and families in communities across Rhode Island. This generous contribution reflects a partnership extending well over a decade between FSRI and the state’s leading dental insurer.
In the next year, the funding will support such critical programs as Be Safe, which has provided more than 26,000 Rhode Islanders with PPE, cleaning supplies, and shelf-stable food since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis started in March 2020, and Be Well, which has provided thousands of hours of video telehealth to help manage the physical and emotional tolls that Rhode Islanders have all come to face.
“Working closely with partners like Family Service of Rhode Island is critical to advancing our mission of supporting the oral health and well-being of all Rhode Islanders – particularly our state’s most vulnerable,” said Joseph R. Perroni, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Rhode Island. “We know that when we work together, we can strengthen the safety net for those who might all too easily slip through.”
In helping FSRI advance their mission to provide a seamless web of quality, innovative and transformative services to Rhode Islanders, Delta Dental of RI fulfills their community-minded mission, too: “We’re dedicated to protecting and promoting the oral health and wellness of all Rhode Islanders. We see aligning our efforts with those of Family Service -- and the organization’s focus on building healthy families and communities – as a natural fit.”
Delta Dental of RI’s meaningful impact has only increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the toll their frontline network of dentists faced, the organization immediately moved to donate and fund personal protective equipment (PPE) to the healthcare workers who faced such desperate need. Further, in service to their clients and the Rhode Island community, Delta Dental of RI introduced teledentristry as a permanently covered service in order to make healthcare more accessible and equitable.
Impressively, through their investments in nonprofit organizations, and their commitment to supporting local businesses through their Share a Smile campaign, Delta Dental of RI has ultimately provided over $20 million in financial relief across the state.
Shining a light on Delta Dental of RI’s inspiring work, Mr. Perroni is steadfast in his message of hope to Rhode Islanders: “When we remember that we’re all in this together, we’re encouraged to reflect on what we can do to ease the burdens of another. Sometimes, the smallest gesture – like a smile – can be just what someone else needs to keep going.”
Delta Dental of Rhode Island Q&A
Describe your organization. What services do you provide, what populations do you serve, and what are your core values?
Delta Dental of Rhode Island is the state’s leading dental insurer. Within our family of dental benefit companies, we administer dental benefits for more than 650,000 members. Each day, we focus on the oral health and wellness not only of our members, but of all Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island is and always has been our home; in fact, all of our administrative and operations functions happen right here. That’s why we’re constantly seeking to serve the community. We’ve supported the creation of new oral health infrastructure at community health centers like Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, Providence Community Health Centers and Thundermist. We’ve supported the addition of dental operatories and equipment at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center and PACE-RI. We’ve also supported direct care at the Rhode Island Mission of Mercy free dental clinic and the Thundermist Dental Tent at Operation Stand Down. We also invest in nonprofit organizations, including Family Service of Rhode Island, who are doing powerful work in supporting vulnerable Rhode Islanders and who share our core values of community, integrity, effectiveness and collaboration. Delta Dental of Rhode Island’s support is woven into the fabric of the state’s nonprofit community, and that’s something of which we’re truly proud.
As everyday life has been turned upside down, and public health has become one of the state’s most pressing concerns, how has Delta Dental responded and evolved?
Like all organizations in Rhode Island, we had to pivot quickly. We started with moving our workforce to a remote model and we’re proud to say that our clients, dentists and members have experienced no disruption in services. But we also put our heads together to see how we could meet the needs of our stakeholders and the community, ultimately providing over $20 million in financial relief across Delta Dental of Rhode Island and its subsidiary companies.
With mandated dentist office closures, many in that community needed support. We immediately offered interest-free loans to our network dentists. We also accelerated part of the value-based care payments we typically make to our qualifying dentists at year’s end. And, knowing how hard it was to get personal protective equipment (PPE), we donated PPE to dentists, reimbursed those who donated their own PPE to healthcare workers and provided financial support for the purchase of PPE.
Many of our clients, members and brokers also needed help. We responded with premium refunds for consumer plan members in June, premium credits for our group clients for June, July, and August coverage, and will provide commission relief to brokers in November. We also created an emergency teledentistry policy, and eased certain time and frequency limitations to make sure our members could get the dental care they needed. We’ve since made teledentistry a permanent covered service in our plans.
Finally, we launched our interactive Share a Smile Facebook campaign, which invited Rhode Islanders to name their favorite Rhode Island restaurant for a chance to win a $50 gift card to that restaurant. The campaign sent $20,000 into the state’s restaurant industry at a time when it needed support. But we’re most proud of the emergency access-to-care grants we’ve given to community organizations across the state.
Have you been involved with FSRI in previous years? Why? If this is the start of our partnership, what makes 2020 unique?
Our partnership with Family Service of Rhode Island reflects an alignment of our missions. We’re dedicated to protecting and promoting the oral health and wellness of all Rhode Islanders. We see aligning our efforts with those of Family Service -- and the organization’s focus on building healthy families and communities – as a natural fit. Our partnership extends well over a decade, during which we’ve provided significant financial support. Additionally, Delta Dental of Rhode Island’s leadership has served Family Service in various capacities through the years, including on the Finance and Audit Committee. Our Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Thomas Chase has been a Family Service Board member for the past seven years.
What does it mean for your organization to be partnered with FSRI?
Working closely with partners like Family Service of Rhode Island is critical to advancing our mission of supporting the oral health and well-being of all Rhode Islanders – particularly our state’s most vulnerable. We know that when we work together, we can strengthen the safety net for those who might all too easily slip through. It’s an honor to support and collaborate with such a trusted and effective community partner.
If you could give Rhode Islanders a message of hope right now, what would you say?
It’s hard to find the right words when everyone is experiencing the challenges of this difficult time in different ways. However, we can all take some comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in those challenges. When we remember that we’re all in this together, we’re encouraged to reflect on what we can do to ease the burdens of another. Sometimes, the smallest gesture – like a smile – can be just what someone else needs to keep going.