The initiative to start the Dental Van program was a result of a collaborative response to a critical need. South Coast Dentists, medical practitioners, and non-profit administrators came together to tackle improving the dental heath in this community. Oregon Coast Community Action, Medical Teams International, and South Coast Dentists have united to offer a monthly Dental Van for low-income residents seeking urgent dental care, funded initially through Community Services Block Grant.
The program has continued thanks to the support of local dental practitioners as well as support from donations made by patients, and grant funding including Bay Area Hospital and a recent contribution from The Samuel S. Johnson Foundation. Every uninsured client the Dental Van serves significantly reduces the likelihood of a dental related emergency room visit, which affects other community members who might otherwise help bear that cost inadvertently. ORCCA is seeking sponsorships and donations to maintain this vital service, whose value far exceeds the cost the activity.
“Dental services are an often overlooked medical necessity,” comments Kim Rollins, ORCCA Health Coordinator. “We hope to continue helping children and families with urgent dental needs, and find a permanent dental home for clients.”
With help from local dental offices, ORCCA has expanded the scope of dental program support to include referrals to families, and helping organize payment plans for low-income residents seeking care. In addition, the South Coast Dental Association has donated toothbrushes that were included in Snack Packs to elementary school children through the Share Bear Snack Pack Program. These strides have significantly reduced the size of the waiting list for the Dental Van, but continued support is needed to maintain momentum for this positive shift in dental health in our community.
For more information on how to donate or sign up for the waiting list for the monthly Dental Van at ORCCA, please call (541) 888-1574 or learn more at www.orcca.us.
Interviews Available: Kim Rollins, Health Coordinator
Dane Smith, South Coast Dentist
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