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The purpose of this descriptive study is to outline the Roseman University of Health Sciences (RUHS) College of Dental Medicines' Patient Assistance Fund development, organization and outcomes. The description and reported results provide insight to others considering similar health professions programs. The Patient Assistance Fund (PAF) affords dental students an opportunity to petition for and obtain financial assistance for their most disadvantaged patients. In this study, two sources of data were collected and used with a quantitative analysis for data collected as part of the PAFs operation and a qualitative analysis to evaluate the patient experiences. A total of 16 student advocates, consisting of 6 males and 10 females from the D3 and D4 classes made 26 presentations to the PAF board committee. The combined amount requested from the PAF was $47,428.00 ("Cost of Treatment Plan") representing an average request per patient of $1824.15 (range $324.00 to $4070.00). The approved procedures and treatment plans totaled $21,278.36 ("Cost of Approved Procedures") with an average of $818.40 (range $204.00 to $2434.00) per patient. Patients and students expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the program. This study provides an overview of the structure, funding sources, expenditures and patient services supported by a dental student managed patient assistance fund. The experiences at RUHS College of Dental Medicine (CODM) suggest that other healthcare professions schools can develop similar type programs that yield benefit both to students and to patients in need.


Burke W Soffe, Justine E Miranda, Jenny Fang, Daniel G Epperson, Roberto A Lara, Hazel L Williamson, Martin S Lipsky. Development and implementation of a patient assistance fund: a descriptive study. BMC health services research. 2021 Jan 06;21(1):14

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PMID: 33407435

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