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Circling the Dome

A Reason to Smile

Patients with dental problems who come for help to the Emergency Department (ED) at The Johns Hopkins Hospital are now able to receive care outside the hospital, thanks to an agreement between the hospital and Chase Brexton Health Care.

The ED at Johns Hopkins sees about three patients each day with nonlife-threatening dental concerns who often don’t have access to dental care or insurance coverage. The result: an inappropriate use of emergency resources with long wait times and significant costs.

Under the new agreement, ED patients who live near the hospital and whose chief complaint is a dental-related issue are offered an appointment the same day or the next business day at Baltimore-based Chase Brexton, a federally qualified health center with 10 dental suites at its Mount Vernon center.

Chase Brexton, which has three full-time dentists, three full-time dental residents and two hygienists, will promote its other medical services to patients during their dental appointments. “Chase Brexton has primary care, substance use treatment, mental health treatment and more,” says Nicki McCann, chief of staff for The Johns Hopkins Hospital. “So, it’s not just an opportunity to establish a dental home for the patients but to get people connected to community-based care.”

Lack of access to dental care consistently appears among the top five health needs in the hospital’s community health needs assessment, a report required of hospitals covered under the Affordable Care Act.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Chase Brexton collaboration, made possible through a $300,000 grant to Chase Brexton from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission and an additional $45,000 from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, kicked off May 1 and is funded through April 2021. The hospital will provide transportation services for patients.