No-Cost Clinics Offer Dental Care for Low-Income, Uninsured Kids
No-cost dental clinics are seeking to increase access to treatment for low-income and uninsured children in California and other states, HealthyCal reports (Flores, HealthyCal, 2/27).
According to a reportÂ released last month byÂ The Children's Partnership, California is facing a shortage of dentists willing to accept Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The report found that nearly half of beneficiaries under age 21 who are enrolled in Denti-Cal -- a Medi-Cal dental program -- did not receive a dental check-up or treatment in 2011 (California Healthline, 1/18).
Details of Dental Clinic
Christina's Smile Children's Dental Clinic is a no-cost dental care provider that follows the PGA tour each year and stops in nearby communities to offer treatment for low-income or uninsured children ages six to 15.
The clinic is housed in a semi-truck trailer and includes three dental stations, an X-ray area and storage space for equipment.
In February, the clinic visited the Salinas area and provided care to 80 migrant students and 40 students from Santa Rita Elementary School over three days.Â Some Salinas dentists volunteered to work at the clinic, while other dentists traveled from additional California communities.
The clinic offers cleanings and screenings for most patients, but it does not offer more advanced services at no cost.
Ernesto Vela -- the coordinator administrator for the Migrant Education Program -- said, "We refer families to visit doctors or dentists to have a six-month check-up," adding, "Agencies do that at a low cost, but for treatment that is more serious -- such as root canal, extractions and so forth -- that usually is a high cost."Vela said, "There are very limited funds for uninsured people who have to rely on charity or other non-profit types of support to be able to afford it" (HealthyCal, 2/27). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.