VETSmile

Connecting Veterans with Dentists in their Communities

VETSmile

VETSmile is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Care and Payment Innovation (CCPI) collaboration with community dental care providers to enhance Veterans' access to free and discounted dental services.

VETSmile logo with text Connecting Veterans with Dentists in their Communities


VETSmile at a Glance

Program Overview

The VETSmile pilot program seeks to advance continuous and comprehensive oral and dental health care services. The program recognizes dental care as an essential component of Veterans' overall wellbeing and reenforces prevention through its oral health education component. VETSmile is designed to provide a first touchpoint for Veterans that do not have a regular dentist and who may need help paying for dental care.

Through partnerships with community dental care providers, CCPI is connecting VHA-enrolled Veterans who are not eligible for dental services at VHA to free or discounted dental services at initial pilot sites including two locations of New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry in New York City and multiple locations of Zufall Health Center and Rutgers School of Dental Medicine in New Jersey.

VA is authorized by Section 152 of the MISSION Act of 2018, 38 U.S.C. 1703E(a)(2), to carry out pilot programs that the Secretary determines to be appropriate, that develop innovative approaches to testing payment and service delivery models in order to reduce expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care furnished by the Department.

VETSmile is the first CCPI pilot program submitted to Congress under this authority.

CCPI collaboration with the initial dental care providers will serve 3,900 Veterans through 9,000 Veteran patient visits in the first year of launch. After the initial launch, the number of Veterans served will increase as CCPI partners with additional dental care providers across the nation.

The VETSmile pilot program launched on July 1, 2021 at NYU College of Dentistry as Veterans Oral Care Access Resources (VOCARE) (referred to as VETSmile/VOCARE). Later that month, the VETSmile pilot program extended to New Jersey through Zufall Health Center and Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

VETSmile will carry on through summer 2026, after which time it will be assessed for scaling or extension. CCPI's sustained partnerships with the American Dental Association, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and VA Dentistry support the development and success of this pilot.

VETSmile Goals

  • Improve Veteran access to dental care through a community-sponsored oral health delivery system.
  • Provide oral health awareness and education for Veterans to adopt and integrate oral hygiene practices into their daily lives.
  • Enable Veteran access to permanent dental homes for continuous, accessible, and affordable oral healthcare, which will also improve overall wellbeing.

picture of patient and dentist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Program Eligibility

Am I eligible for the VETSmile pilot program?

Veterans enrolled in the VETSmile pilot program are eligible to receive free or discounted dental services at NYU College of Dentistry, NY locations (Manhattan and Brooklyn) and Zufall Health Center, NJ locations and if they are:

  • Enrolled in the VA health care system
  • Not eligible to receive dental services through VA

At Zufall Health Center, Veterans must meet the following additional eligibility criteria:


How will I be notified of eligibility?

For Veterans in the New York City area, the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System has established a process for primary care physicians to discuss oral health needs with Veterans and and refer them to the VETSmile/VOCARE pilot at NYU College of Dentistry.

For eligible Veterans in the northern New Jersey area, CCPI will send targeted outreach (via letters, emails, and texts) based on eligibility criteria for Zufall Health Center. The notice will instruct eligible Veterans on how to enroll in the program and provide Veterans with a uniquely generated VETSmile Registration Code.


Dental Care Providers

Where are the dental care provider facilities located?

There is subway service to the two NYU College of Dentistry locations participating in the VETSmile/VOCARE pilot program. These locations are:

  • Manhattan: 345 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010
  • Brooklyn: 336 Flatbush Ave Ext, Floor 4A, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The Zufall Health Center locations participating in the VETSmile pilot program include the following:

  • Essex County: 95 Northfield Ave, Suite 2, West Orange, NJ 07052
  • Hunterdon County: 361 Route 31, Bldg C, Suite 701, Flemington, NJ 08822
  • Morris County: 17 S Warren St, Dover, NJ 07801
  • Morris County: 4 Atno Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960
  • Sussex County: 238 Spring St, Suite A, Newton, NJ 07860
  • Warren County: 117 Seber Rd (5 Doctor's Park), Unit 5, Hackettstown, NJ 07840
  • Delta Dental Mobile: Mobile facility/van with scheduled events in Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Essex counties

Is transportation to the dental care provider available?

For NYU College of Dentistry: Transportation assistance is not provided at this point, however, the facilities are easily accessible through public transportation.

For Zufall Health Center: If you require transportation assistance, it may be available. Please call them for more information.

The cost of travel to VETSmile appointments is not covered through this program or by VA.


Why did CCPI select NYU College of Dentistry and Zufall Health Center to provide services through the VETSmile pilot program?

State-of-the-art facilities: The two NYU College of Dentistry sites and the six Zufall Health Center sites have state-of-the art facilities with leading technology available in dental care.

Accessibility: Both the NYU College of Dentistry and Zufall Health Center sites have dedicated staff that accommodate patients with disabilities or patients that have a history of trauma. They are also easily accessible by public transportation.

Care: The staff at these sites are attentive to patient safety and want to serve every patient's needs, with Zufall Health Center being committed to serve Veterans through a whole health approach.




NYU College of Dentistry facility

Dental Appointment

How do I make an appointment?

For NYU College of Dentistry: NY Harbor will send NYU College of Dentistry a list of Veterans who express interest in receiving dental services from NYU, and after that, the NYU dental care coordinator will contact those Veteran directly to make an appointment.

For Zufall Health Center: To make an appointment, contact Zufall Health Center and provide your VETSmile Registration Code.


What should I bring to my appointment?

For NYU College of Dentistry: If you have dental insurance, please bring your dental insurance card with you to your appointment.

For Zufall Health Center: CCPI notified you of your program eligibility via a letter, email, or text message and provided a uniquely generated VETSmile Registration Code. Please bring this registration code to your appointment.


What can I expect at my appointment?

At the dental care site, you will be asked to complete registration/intake paperwork upon arrival at your appointment to share your dental encounter information with the VA.

The dental care provider will perform dental treatment and provide information about improving your overall oral health. The dentist will discuss your personal dental care plan, including the need for any future appointments.

You will complete a patient satisfaction survey at the end of each dental visit.

If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please call your dental care provider, and make sure to mention that you are a participant in the VETSmile pilot program.


How much will my dental care services cost?

For NYU College of Dentistry: Once you are enrolled in the VETSmile pilot, your dental care services will be provided at no cost to you. Staff may ask for your insurance card for reimbursement from your insurance company, but you will not be charged for your care.

For Zufall Health Center: The staff will calculate the discounted cost of services for you based on your income level. Based on that, you may be eligible for free dental care.


What services are available through these dental care providers?

For NYU College of Dentistry: VETSmile/VOCARE services offered to eligible Veterans will include acute emergency dental care, preventive oral care, treatment of oral disease, dental restoration, and endodontics and periodontics.

For Zufall Health Center: VETSmile services offered to eligible Veterans, depending on the treatment location, will include acute emergency dental care, preventive oral care, treatment of oral disease, dental restoration, and periodontics.


What happens to my dental services after the pilot concludes?

We encourage all VETSmile patients to engage in continued oral health care with their VETSmile-referred community dental care provider regardless of status of the VETSmile program.




Journey Map



News Releases!
View the official VA Press Release announcing VETSmile here:
Read more


Contact

For questions related to VETSmile, contact:


Dr. Ghosh headshot

Dr. Roshni Ghosh
Executive Director, CCPI

"We are very excited and incredibly fortunate to collaborate with dental care providers that are passionate about comprehensive dental services and quality care for Veterans. VETSmile is an opportunity for us to bridge the gap in Veterans' access to continuous, accessible, and affordable oral care -- crucial for their overall wellbeing."