The approaches vary from state to state, but the new year is bringing renewed efforts to broaden access to dental services to millions of Americans who have long lacked care.
In many places, the need is particularly acute among poor adults. Across America, roughly 38 million of them rely upon Medicaid for a broad range of health care benefits. But while children are entitled to dental care under Medicaid, adult dental benefits are considered an optional part of the program. Continue reading
Many newly-minted dentists are burdened by the high cost of a dental education.
The average dental student graduates with more than $261,000 worth of debt, reporter Ramsey Touchberry told viewers in a recent story for University of Florida-based WUFT, citing figures from the American Dental Education Association.
Now some Florida legislators are pushing for legislation that would create a loan forgiveness program to help recent dental school graduates pay off those bills. At the same time the measure would get more care to poor and underserved communities in the state, the legislators say. Continue reading
Photo: Courtesy of Volunteers in MedicineDr. Jack McConnell with a patient.
So what does a wealthy doctor who retired and moved to a beach and golf community off the South Carolina coast do when he gets bored with golf?
He rounds up a bunch of his golf buddies – also retired docs – and launches a free clinic.
That’s what Dr. Jack McConnell did in the early 1990s. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Bart Roach
Sara Schilling of the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., recently caught up with a local dentist who channels his wanderlust into helping others.
His name is Bart Roach.
When Roach is not taking care of his own patients and pitching in at a local clinic for the poor, he is trekking to faraway places where children are suffering from untreated disease.
The walls of his office are decorated with images and souvenirs of his travels. The computer in his office is filled with the photographs, Schilling writes. Continue reading
A lot has been made of mapping health care lately, from states and counties to ZIP codes and income. But take a step back, and a lot of the issues facing health care writers and policymakers are part of the nation’s larger rural-urban divide.
The Association for Health Care Journalists is offering a chance on June 19 for health writers to explore what is happening in America’s less populated areas as well as the emerging trends at its Rural Health Journalism Workshop. Continue reading
The Associated Press’s Kristen Wyatt looks at one category of stimulus spending that’s already making an impact: funding for clinics serving the poor and disadvantaged.
From the Colorado homeless shelter to rural Pennsylvania clinics that can accept new patients, health centers that serve the poor are among the first places the federal stimulus package is being spent.
The stimulus law sets aside $2.5 billion for free and low-cost health clinics, and a big chunk of it – about $500 million – is already being spent. The White House has promised another burst of money this summer.
Wyatt quotes grateful patients and providers, but also tempers the enthusiasm with a reminder that the money comes in the form of one-time grants that aren’t designed to fix the systemic problems behind the lack of health services for America’s poorest residents.
For a full list of Health and Human Services programs receiving stimulus money, visit the HHS page at recovery.gov or use this map to find programs benefiting from the stimulus in your area.