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Permanent link  Emergency dental program launched in suburban Cook County


Did you receive an email from CEDA recently, asking you to volunteer for the new Emergency Dental Care Program?

I got to speak with CEDA spokesperson Cheri Jones this week and learned A LOT about both the organization and the new program.

CEDA (Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County) is a 50-year-old organization, and the second largest recipient of federal block grant funds in Cook County. The City of Chicago is the largest recipient. CEDA has organized several human services programs that you’ve probably heard of, but the emergency dental program is the newest. It’s technically a pilot program through the end of 2012, but will be up for renewal in November.

The Emergency Dental Care Program works like this:

Eligible patients who demonstrate emergency dental needs will receive a voucher for up to $1,000 in dental care from any dentist who agrees to participate – that is, the dentist will deliver care in his or her private office and submit the voucher to CEDA for reimbursement.

Who’s eligible? Patients must 1) be residents of suburban Cook County, 2) be living at 125 percent of the poverty level with little or no dental insurance, and 3) demonstrate a need for emergency dental care. These patients will be screened for their eligibility by CEDA agents working with various social service agencies.

What’s considered an emergency? Dental pain that prevents the patient from chewing, eating, speaking or swallowing. Patients might also be unable to work or attend school because of their dental pain, or unable to gain employment because of their condition (such as missing their front teeth). This is a broad definition, and it is up to the dentist to determine the treatment plan. There is no list of acceptable procedures — nor a fee schedule — for CEDA volunteers to follow.

Only the patient must be a resident of suburban Cook County; CEDA is looking for dentists in suburban Cook County but also in the collar county towns that boarder Cook County and the edges of Chicago to treat qualified patients.

For more information about volunteering or getting one of your patients qualified, visit CEDA online or contact program director Yvonne Butchee at 312.795.8890 or