Chester, Pennsylvania only covers 5 miles but has more than 34,000 residents. It's also one of the most distressed cities in the state—and the nation.
Because local families have almost no access to dental care, AmeriHealth Caritas' Keystone First launched the Chester Smiles mobile dental program in April 2012.
The program started as an initiative among the health plan, the city's three dentists and Dentex Dental. It has grown into the Healthy Chester Coalition, engaging the mayor and other community advocates, the local hospital and two nearby universities.
Chester Smiles is designed to provide a "dental home," not just for Keystone First members, but for all Chester residents. Mobile dental vans are parked at primary care physician's offices, community housing areas and government facilities.
Equipped with the latest dental technology and staffed by dental professionals, the traveling vans welcomed 500 patients in the first seven weeks of the program. Chester Smiles focuses on preventive dental care and reducing ER use for dental problems. For Chester residents, that is something to smile about.