Community dental clinic an asset for Owensboro

The Community Dental Clinic was able to assist more than 6,200 patients last year and wants to welcome even more patients in 2022, according to Suzanne Craig, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The clinic opened in 2009 with a mission to serve Medicaid and low income patients with high quality dental care to help alleviate dental suffering and improve dental health in the community.

The clinic has grown over its 13 years, having started with three part-time dental providers, to now have two full-time providers, a part-time pediatric provider and a full team of hygienists, front office assistants and employees, according to Craig.

In just three months since finding a part-time pediatric care provider who only works one day a week, Craig said the clinic has been able to help at least 230 additional patients in need of care. dental, which fulfills an important need – dental pain is the no. 1 reason given for having missed school for the children.

The Community Dental Clinic was able to assist more than 6,200 patients last year and wants to welcome even more patients in 2022, according to Suzanne Craig, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The clinic opened in 2009 with a mission to serve Medicaid and low income patients with high quality dental care to help alleviate dental suffering and improve dental health in the community.

The clinic has grown over its 13 years, having started with three part-time dental providers, to now have two full-time providers, a part-time pediatric provider and a full team of hygienists, assistants and front office workers, according to Craig.

In just three months since finding a part-time pediatric care provider who only works one day a week, Craig said the clinic has been able to help at least 230 additional patients in need of care. dental, which fulfills an important need – dental pain is the no. 1 reason given for having missed school for the children.

Since opening, Craig said the clinic has realized the extent of the need in the community.

“We thought we understood the need of those on Medicaid or those notable for getting dental care elsewhere, but we really underestimated the need. The need was really greater than we thought, ”she said.

However, as the clinic increases its number of patients, it also requires more staff and more equipment, which requires even more funding.

However, since the clinic primarily serves patients without insurance or with Medicaid insurance, it receives little or no reimbursement for its costs.

For people with Medicaid insurance, Craig said the clinic receives about 60% reimbursement for the cost of care and about 35% in total.

Over the past five years, she said the clinic has provided $ 7.2 million in dental care, receiving reimbursement and payment for just $ 2.2 million, which means $ 5 million in care Free dental care was provided to the community during this time.

For dental fillings, Kunze said Medicaid typically only reimburses the clinic for around $ 38, while other insurance providers, Craig said, could pay around $ 150 or more.

The need is still there, however, and the clinic’s mission is to ensure that those who need dental care receive it.

“We go above and beyond to try to reach those who have gone through the gaps,” she said. ” Its a question of life or death. Without our services, people’s quality of life… could be affected.

Plus, she said, the clinic is the only one in the area doing what it does and serving Medicaid patients.

“Dentists in Owensboro and the rest of the community are not serving Medicaid patients, so we are addressing a need there that cannot be met anywhere else in our community. And that’s not to blame anyone, it’s just that Medicaid reimbursements are low and it’s hard to have a solid practice, ”Kunze said.

Many of his patients, too, typically present with severe dental problems and pain, requiring a multiple-visit treatment plan, Craig said, forcing the clinic to help educate its patient population on the importance of dental care. , maintenance of healthy habits and prevention. measures hopefully aimed at reducing the number of needs in the community.

“It’s mostly multigenerational neglect and poverty and other challenges that we have,” she said. “We are really trying to do our best to stop this cycle, and that is why prevention and education are so important.”

Fortunately, she said, the community rallied around the clinic and helped support it financially, including its asset to Owensboro and the surrounding area.

This support, along with generous donations and grants, has allowed the clinic to continue its work for the past 13 years, said Craig.

“It’s really special about the way Owensboro has supported this clinic in so many ways,” she said. “They see the need.”

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