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Recovery symposium

Henry Schein extends helping hand to dentists in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath

 
Practice support: Steve Kess (at podium) of Henry Schein addresses a crowd of practice owners affected by Hurricane Sandy at the symposium.
New York—Henry Schein Inc. held a symposium last month to help dentists affected by Hurricane Sandy get back on their feet, bringing together speakers from the ADA Foundation and the government, insurance and banking industries.

In a New York City hotel Nov. 16, Henry Schein held the Recovery Empowerment Symposium to support practice recovery for health care professionals, drawing representation from 59 practices—about half of which were dental practices.

 
Dr. Whiston: "This program was a template for pre-disaster preparation and post-disaster response that needs to be widely disseminated."
"This program was a template for pre-disaster preparation and post-disaster response that needs to be widely disseminated," said Dr. David Whiston, president of the ADA Foundation, a speaker at the event.

To that end, information from the symposium is being made available to anyone in need. Videos of Nov. 16 presentations are on YouTube.

"Unfortunately, this program was necessary," said Steve Kess, vice president of global professional relations at Henry Schein Inc. "We felt it was important to help people get through this and make sure that health professionals in affected areas had access to critical information for recovery."

Plans for the symposium were put in motion well before Sandy swept ashore, said Mr. Kess.

"Based on the weather reports, we anticipated that we should plan a recovery symposium just like we did after Hurricane Katrina," he explained. "We scheduled it for two weeks after Hurricane Sandy to try to get information to those in need as quickly as humanly possible."

Henry Schein invited Dr. Nicholas Mosca, dental director for the state of Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina, to share his perspective at the Recovery Empowerment Symposium, along with other dentists who went through the same type of challenges during Katrina. Dr. Mosca participated in Henry Schein Cares' Road to Recovery, the charitable initiative to support practices in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during Katrina.

As in Katrina's aftermath, health professionals need not be customers of Henry Schein to participate in recovery symposia.

"These events were designed to help all office-based professionals learn more about the resources that are available for them in recovering from a disaster that happened to them both professionally and in many cases personally," said Mr. Kess. 

Experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, insurance and banking industries, and Henry Schein advised practitioners on ways to access aid and the type of documentation needed to estimate damages and other costs.

"Many of the dentists affected by Sandy are facing severe damage while others are facing business interruption issues," said Mr. Kess. "What happened in many cases is that the practices are still intact but the patients have stopped coming, or the building may have been damaged.

"Overall, the amount of extensive damage was less than expected, which was good news. But the bad news is that business interruption support is needed because the storm had a tremendous impact on patients being able to come for appointments followed by the gas shortage, which resulted in enormous cancellations for appointments." 

In addition to sharing the "all hands on deck" volunteer and staff effort under way to help those harmed, Dr. Whiston spoke about the ADA Foundation's implementation of Emergency Disaster Assistance Grants of $1,000 for immediate resources such as food, water, clothing and shelter. The Foundation added the grants to its Disaster Assistance Grant program that offers up to $5,000 for longer term needs. (For more information, visit www.ada.org/adafoundation.aspx.)

The symposium drew attendees from the dental, medical and animal health professions. Henry Schein is the world's largest supplier of health care products and services for these professionals.