Localities Offer Access to Dental Care to Low-Income Children, Families
Lack of access to proper dental care continues to plague low-income families and their children. Many states and localities, however, are moving to improve access to dental services for this group. A roundup of the latest dental care efforts follows: :
- Colorado: Denver's Kids In Need of Dentistry program, or KIND, will serve 11,000 metro-area children from low-income families in its five clinics and mobile dental van, the Denver Rocky Mountain News Report. KIND, founded by local dentists in 1912, offers assistance to the "working poor," families who do not qualify for Medicaid, but whose jobs do not offer benefits. Income status is verified before children can enroll in the program. Families are asked to pay a $15 office fee and 10% of the actual costs, if they can afford it. Currently, more than 400 area dentists, hygienists, and dental students volunteer for the program (Mitchell, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 12/10)."
- Florida: With the help of the Quantum Foundation, the United Way of Palm Beach County, and 20 area dentists, philanthropist Virginia Brown is creating a "first-of-its-kind" orthodontic program to Palm Beach County. Children of working parents between the ages of 11 and 18 are eligible for low-cost braces, with each family paying $200 of the discounted cost of $2,000 per regimen. A typical individual orthodontic regimen costs about $4,000, but dentists participating in Brown's program have agreed to reduce the fee. To join the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Program, income must not exceed $40,000 for a family of four and children must have good dental health prior to participation (O'Meilia, Palm Beach Post/Miami Herald, 12/12).
- Ohio: In January, the Scioto County Community Action Organization will open the Center for Dental Wellness, a dental clinic targeting the area's low-income children and families. More than 37% of the county's children are categorized as "low income." The clinic, which expects to hire a full-time dentist in addition to a hygienist and dental assistant, intends to serve low-income and Medicaid patients who "struggle to find a private-practice dentist willing to take them on." Other patients will pay on a sliding-fee scale (Dreitzler, Columbus Dispatch, 12/7).