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Members Only Event: Partners Health Plan (PHP) Seeks to Overcome Dental Health Disparities For Individuals with IDD

Specialized Dental Care for those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Comes to Metro NY.

January 9, 2023 — New York
Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) are known to have poorer oral/dental health than people without IDD. Studies show that people with IDD have 30% more untreated cavities, 50% more missing teeth, and 150% more gum disease.

The biggest reason for this health disparity is access to oral health care for children and adults with IDD: lack of preventive and regular care, including management of secondary medical conditions that are related to oral health, leads to more significant oral health problems. Wait times for IDD specialized services can be as long as a year at practices and dental school programs that offer them.

But Partners Health Plan (PHP), a NY-based health plan that is exclusively dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of individuals with IDD, is committed to ensuring the oral health of its members.

“Improving access to dental care for our community of service in New York State is mission-critical,” added Steven Merahn, MD, Medical Director, Partners Health Plan. “Our overarching goal is to improve the quality of life of our members and the relationship between oral health and overall well-being is well established.”

“Our overarching goal is to improve the quality of life of our members and the relationship between oral health and overall well-being is well established.”

Steven Merahn, MD, Medical Director, Partners Health Plan.


To achieve this goal, PHP has partnered with Solvere Health to deploy specialized IDD mobile dental clinics at select-day service locations in Metro New York to reduce travel demands. Solvere Health is a company that specializes in the delivery of high-quality clinical services through group health events via mobile medical units or pop-up clinics to underserved populations. Individuals with IDD may struggle with the sights, sounds and experiences encountered during dental care, and the PHP-Solvere Dental Health Program will conduct specialized desensitization sessions to prepare individuals for the dental care experience and mobile clinic environments. The mobile dental units are also fully accessible for individuals with mobility challenges.

“Expanding the availability of quality healthcare services to underserved communities is central to Solvere Health's mission. We view the collaboration with Partner Health Plan as a way to make quality dental care accessible to persons with I/DD,” stated Edward Lorch, CEO, Solvere Health, “Our mobile clinics offer a solution that is empathetic and considerate. We factor in the patient population's comfort (including desensitization), convenience, mobility, and communication. When engineering and staffing the mobile clinic, we understand that taking a holistic view of the patient leads to a positive oral healthcare experience and repeat preventative care.”

“This mobile dental clinic initiative is a very exciting opportunity as it will open access to oral healthcare,” noted Rita Marie Bilello, DDS, CEO, and former Dental Director of Metro Community Health Centers. “This new dental care model will bridge a much-needed gap for Partners Health Plan (PHP) members, all adults with IDD, who have been unable to access routine preventative oral health care services. Mobilizing dental services will begin to address some of the access issues and will allow for PHP to better assist in getting their members the oral care that they need.”

The first mobile dental clinic for PHP members is scheduled at the PHP corporate headquarters located at 2500 Halsey Street in the Bronx on Saturday, February 18, 2023. Future mobile health clinic locations will include locations in the New York City, Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties), Rockland County, and Westchester County where PHP operates. PHP welcomes partnerships with local agencies to serve as destination sites for a mobile clinic.

For more information please contact: providerrelations@phpcares.org.

News organizations that want to attend/cover the first clinic should reach out to Elizabeth Wales, Assistant Vice President, Strategic Communications at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 518-410-5629.

About Partners Health Plan
Partners Health Plan (PHP) is the first-in-the-nation, provider-led managed care organization that fully integrates Medicare and Medicaid for individuals 21 years and older with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), so they have the most complete care package. PHP provides person-centered care for whole-person wellness addressing the physical, behavioral, and social needs of individuals to assist them in living a quality life. The plan operates in 4 New York State regions (nine downstate counties): New York City, Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties), Rockland County, and Westchester County. For more information, visit www.phpcares.org.

About Solvere Health
Working with state and federal, institutional, and corporate partners, Solvere Health brings a business discipline to health challenges across the United States through onsite, mobile, and digital healthcare solutions. Deploying a team of highly motivated, accountable problem solvers, we stand up sustainable, end-to-end programs in rapid response to group health events, disaster relief, and underserved rural communities, via onsite pop-ups, mobile clinics, and strategically placed brick-and-mortar locations. Our efficient approach combines exacting strategic planning, comprehensive compliance management, unparalleled logistics, state-of-the-art mobile healthcare technology, and emerging digital health applications.

Contact Us
  • Partners Health Plan
  • 2500 Halsey Street
    Bronx, NY 10461
  • (855) PHP-LIVE or (855) 747-5483
  • TTY:711
  • 8am-8pm, 7 days a week

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855-747-5483 | TTY/TDD:711
Partners Health Plan is a managed care plan that contracts with Medicare and the New York State Department of Health (Medicaid) to provide benefits to Participants through the Fully Integrated Duals Advantage for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FIDA-IDD) Demonstration.

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The State of New York has created a Participant Ombudsman Program called the Independent Consumer Advocacy Network (ICAN) to provide participants free, confidential assistance on any services offered by Partners Health Plan. ICAN may be reached toll-free at 1-844-614-8800 (TTY users call 711, then follow the prompts to dial 844-614-8800) or online at icannys.org.