New dental program serves students

Thursday, January 8, 2009

School-age children in Cassville will now enjoy better access to dental care thanks to a new program offered through Access Family Care, formerly known as Ozark Tri-County Health Care.

On Dec. 8, 2008, 50 students in the Cassville R-IV School District received dental services as a result of the school-based program, which is slated to begin again this January. Clinic officials intend to serve all students in the district who desire the service.

"Having the mobile dental unit there was an amazing thing for some of these children," said Kristi Dobbs, registered dental hygienist. "About 90 percent of these children are in serious need of dental help."

The health center sets up a portable dental chair and equipment at the school under the supervision of Dr. Leland McCall, Access Family Care's dental director. The clinic plans to make weekly visits to the school to provide full service dental care.

"Most of the children seen so far are recipients of MO HealthNet coverage," said Dr. McCall. "The intent of the program is to provide services for all children regardless of their insurance coverage."

Before a child can receive dental care through the mobile dental service program, parents must complete and sign a release. Following an initial exam, parents will receive a plan for dental care, which will require their approval before services are rendered. Releases can be obtained from the school nurse.

"Seeing the children in the school is a much more relaxed environment," said Dobbs. "The kids really seemed to do a lot better in this setting."

Access Family Care in Cassville was formerly referred to as the James D. Warn Community Clinic. The facility is located at 1101 Main St. in Cassville and is open from Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.

For more information on the new dental program, call Access Family Care-Cassville at 847-0057.

ACCESS Family Care was founded in 1996 as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) for the purpose of increasing access to primary care for those who lack medical insurance coverage. The organization, headquartered in Neosho, operates clinics in Cassville, Anderson and Joplin.

In 2008, ACCESS served a total of 9,365 patients, which is an increase of 76 percent since 2001. Of those patients seen last year, 49 percent were at or below the federal poverty level, 38 percent were Medicaid recipients and less than 5 percent were Medicare patients.

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