DENTAL SERVICES: Program Serves Poor Contra Costa Children
As part of a local outreach effort, Contra Costa Health Services has purchased portable dental equipment to expand services in its "Save Our Smiles" program, adopted in 1976 to provide dental care to poor children. The new effort "will give students a chance to have their teeth cleaned and have protective sealants applied to some of their permanent teeth," a service program coordinators say many children badly need. Of 611 students screened at Bay Point's Shore Acres Elementary School, "25% had one or more cavities and 65% needed acrylic sealants to protect permanent molars that hadn't already decayed." Lynn Pilant, dental program coordinator for Contra Costa Health Services, said, "Many of these kids do not have a toothbrush of their own. Some of these people can't put food on the table. Toothbrushes become a luxury item -- not a health necessity." Pilant and several volunteers, including dentists, hygienists and adult-education students, fill cavities, administer acrylic sealants and fluoride treatments, demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques and distribute a list of locations where families can get low-cost dental care (Coetsee, Contra Costa Times, 3/2).
Delta Dental Forges Ahead
Delta Dental has "capped another year of double-digit growth," with revenues rising 11% to $1.8 billion, the San Francisco Business Times reports. Membership in Delta's HMO and PPO plans went up 11% and 21%, respectively, as "its full patient list nears 13 million." The company also "managed to stay in the black," even though a $20 expenditure to solve the Y2K computer bug cut into its bottom line. CFO Elizabeth Russell said Delta is optimistic for 1999 as well. "We're targeting 15% to 20% growth in our PPO again this year. The PPO was a focal point for '98 and is a large part of our marketing plan for '99 also," she said (Bole, 3/1).