WAYNESBURG – Cornerstone Care is bringing smiles to children in need.
The nonprofit health provider based in Southwestern Pennsylvania is once against shuttling its mobile dental van around the area to offer routine dental care to children in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties.
“We realize that there is a great need in our communities for this service, and we’re trying to get as much participation as possible,” said Donna Simpson, manager of Cornerstone Care’s Outreach and Mobile Services Department. “We want to make sure that these children who are falling through the cracks receive the dental treatment that they need to live healthy lives.”
The mobile dental unit works with community organizations, public and private schools, pre-schools and Head Start programs to reach out to people who need services the most, which are typically children and families who don’t have access to basic dental care because of income, transportation or health insurance issues.dental laser tips
Smile for Life began in Greene County in 2009 as an outreach program to address oral health problems in the area. What began as a school-based oral health education program has grown to deploy the mobile dental program.
“The need for oral health care is one of the greatest unmet needs among children,” Simpson said.
Parents interested in the program can register their children by contacting their school district to see if its participating in the program and to request the dental application forms to be filled out and returned to the school, Simpson said. Once that is completed, the children will be entered into the program, Simpson said, and school officials will contact parents when the dental van will be at the campus.
Simpson said the program is designed to ensure children who do not have access to dental care are able to visit with a hygienist and dentist on the van, before eventually receiving regular care with Cornerstone care or through another practice. The visit on the van includes a cleaning from a hygienist, examination by a license dentist, dental report cards for parents, dental sealants if recommended and referrals for follow-up care if needed.
Children with dental insurance will have that provider billed, but Cornerstone Care said a variety of payments plans are accepted for children without dental insurance. Simpson said the staff will work with parents to enroll their children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP.
Parents who do not want to enroll in that will be offered services under an existing “fee scale” based on federal poverty guidelines, although proof of income is required. Families that are able to show they’re not able to make any payments can apply for a fee waiver, although proof of household income is required there as well.
However, Simpson said no child will be turned away for his or her family’s inability to pay.