Providence Business News: 5 Questions with Dr. Tiffanie Waldeck

June 19, 2024

Providence Business News: 5 Questions With Dr. Tiffanie Waldeck

Wood River Health recently announced it has partnered with PACE Organization of Rhode Island to provide diagnostic and preventative dental health services at PACE-RI’s Westerly adult day center and health clinic. Wood River Health Chief Dental Officer Dr. Tiffanie Waldeck spoke with Providence Business News about the partnership.

PBN: How was Wood River Health’s partnership with PACE-RI initiated?

WALDECK: PACE and Wood River Health have been community partners for several years. Beginning in 2021, PACE clients in need of dental services established care with Wood River Health at our Hope Valley location. Clients were transported by PACE to WRH to receive preventative and restorative dental care.

Now, with the addition of a public health dental hygienist, portable dental equipment and telehealth technology, WRH provides diagnostic and preventative care directly at PACE’s Westerly Adult Day Center location, bringing care right to them.

PBN: What is access to dental care like in Washington County compared with the rest of the state?

WALDECK: Washington County faces some unique challenges. With a larger geographic area, there are less dental providers per square mile available to the county’s residents. When you pair that with minimal to no public transportation options between its towns and even within many towns, you have a significant barrier to care for many patients, particularly those who do not have their own vehicle or those unable to drive themselves for dental care.

PBN: Who is eligible for dental care through this partnership and when can they access it?

WALDECK: All Westerly PACE participants are eligible to receive dental care through this partnership. PACE manages all aspects of their clients’ care, including the scheduling of appointments with WRH. WRH provides diagnostic and preventative dental care at PACE in Westerly [on] the first Friday of every month. Westerly PACE clients can also choose to be scheduled at our Hope Valley location during our normal business hours, Monday-Wednesday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PBN: What kinds of dental services will be offered and what unique oral health concerns do seniors face?

WALDECK: Preventative dental care is offered directly at PACE, includes cleanings, X-rays and exams. Patients requiring restorative care are scheduled at WRH in Hope Valley.

The American Dental Association reports that two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 have some form of dental disease, including tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health concerns. As people age, their teeth require more maintenance and care due to gum disease or other complications.

PBN: Approximately how many patients would this partnership serve, and is there any possibility of expanding it in the future?

WALDECK: Last year WRH served 30 PACE [patients] with a total of 78 appointments. These patients were seen both at PACE and WRH in Hope Valley. We hope to expand the types of services we provide directly at PACE’s Westerly center utilizing our portable dental equipment to include restorative dental care.

By Katie Castellani, PBN staff writer. You may contact her at