UNINSURED CHILDREN: Dentists Donate Time, Services
To address the increasing number of California children who lack dental insurance, some groups have started programs that link children with providers who offer free dental services, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. One such program, developed by the Children's Health Network, a Santa Rosa-based, not-for-profit health agency, and the Redwood Empire Dental Society, began Friday. Under the program, local children are referred by school nurses to participating dentists for emergency or chronic dental problems, such as cavities or root canals. A similar project has been in the works in Sonoma County since December, and other dental programs for Santa Rosa's uninsured children are operated by St. Joseph Health at the Southwest Community Center and the state-run Health Families agency. According to a 1997 CDC survey, nearly 44% of California residents lack dental insurance, while only 50% of state residents had visited their dentist in the past year. President- elect of the Redwood Empire Dental Society Jim Wood said, "If everybody ... would take care of a few patients in their own community, we would be able to make a dent in the problem" (Rose, 5/6).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.