New York State Dental Foundation administers program to assist dentists suffering from substance use disorder.
The New York State Dental Association, through its Board Committee on Substance Abuse & Well-Being, has aided hundreds of dentists whose professional careers, families and very lives are threatened by an insidious disease. The incidence of alcoholism and drug abuse among healthcare professionals is statistically higher than among the general population. Estimates suggest that addictive illness affects between 10 percent to 20 percent of all dentists. Because 80 percent of licensed dentists practice alone, most are isolated from other professionals, making it difficult to identify problems, particularly in the early stages, and to effectively intervene or monitor recovery.
Since 2009, the New York State Dental Foundation has administered the Dr. Thomas Sullivan Substance Abuse Grant Program, to provide financial assistance to individuals with substance use disorder who require in-patient medical treatment. These grants are designed to assist in the payment of initial treatment costs associated with in-patient services.
The New York State Dental Association has contracted with the New York State Dental Foundation, as its charitable subsidiary, to administer the Dr. Thomas Sullivan Substance Abuse Grant Program, and donated $15,000 to establish the program. As part of the arrangement, applications for this program will be screened by the Committee on Substance Abuse & Well-Being, whose chair will communicate to the Foundation a recommendation to approve or disapprove. The Foundation will decide whether the grant application will be approved. The program is open to all dentists in New York State. Dr. Robert Herzog, Committee Chair, explains the importance of the grant mechanism: “The effects of alcoholism and substance abuse result in immeasurable costs to the doctors, their patients and families. The safety of their patients is directly affected. But we know from experience that intervention and support can be the lifeline these individuals need to recover and continue to lead productive lives. Treatment facilities require proof of insurance or a down payment before they can accept a dentist for in-patient treatment. Too often, when the need for treatment is urgent, the dentist involved no longer has any financial resources or health benefits from which to draw.”
Tax-deductible contributions to the Dr. Thomas Sullivan Substance Abuse Grant Program can be made c/o the New York State Dental Foundation, 20 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Suite 602, Albany, NY 12211. All monies contributed to this account will be used solely for the purposes of assisting impaired dentists.
Dr. Thomas Sullivan Substance Abuse Grant Program: Key Facts
Eligibility: The purpose of the Dr. Thomas Sullivan Substance Abuse Grant Program is to provide financial assistance to individuals with substance use disorder who require in-patient medical treatment and lack the financial resources necessary to initiate treatment. These grants are designed to assist in the payment of medical costs involved with such in-patient services.
Any dentist who requires in-patient medical services to treat a substance use disorder may apply for assistance under this program if the dentist does not have access to independent financing or relevant medical coverage. Substance use disorder, for the purpose of this program, is defined as dependency upon alcohol and/or any addictive licit or illicit controlled substances. No monies are available for treatment costs associated exclusively with nicotine addictions.
Applications will be screened by the NYSDA Board Committee on Substance Abuse & Well-Being’s Peer Assistance Coordinator and Foundation staff. Any applicant for a grant must meet all criteria listed below:
1. An applicant must agree to complete treatment as prescribed by a physician and follow aftercare instructions.
2. The applicant must submit a cost estimate for the in-patient program detailing the extent of the charges and indicating the amount of the grant requested.
Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis evaluating the applicant's overall financial condition, availability of insurance coverage, and the applicant's available personal assets. The liquidity of the applicant's financial resources shall be considered by the Foundation in determining the extent of financial need.
Amount of Grant: The grant amount shall be determined by the Foundation on the recommendation of the Committee on Substance Abuse & Well-Being, but shall not exceed one-half the cost of the treatment or $5,000, whichever is less. The Committee shall be responsible for providing a statement of charges from the treatment facility to the Foundation. All such information shall be held in strict confidence by both the Committee and Foundation and shall be shared only between them for the sole purpose of administering the grant program.