Community Dentistry Program of the Rushville Health Center
The S2AY Rural Health Network partners with Rushville Health Center to provide a community dentistry program across our region. We direct our services to the communities with the most needs. This is due to a lack of fluoridated water, and a shortage of dental providers accepting Child Health Plus and Medicaid insurance. We are in our thirteenth year providing dental services at over 40 schools and headstart sites in Ontario, Wayne, Yates and Seneca counties. We have expanded the dental program into Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung counties with over 20 additional schools & headstarts. In 2008 thru the end of November 1168 patients had been seen and 115 site visits had been made.
The primary focus of the dental program is to provide quality, affordable, and accessible dental services to children who lack dental care. There is no cost to the school, they simply provide us with the space that is needed. Our target populations are those children in non-fluoridated and under-served areas. All sites are approved by the State Department of Health prior to dental services. No one is obligated to use the dental services. If the child already has a dentist, we encourage them to continue his or her dental care with their dentist. We do however, understand how difficult it can be to make and keep appointments, losing time from work, or experiencing the difficulty of finding a provider that accepts Child Health Plus, Medicaid, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield in our area.
A dental hygenist begins with classroom dental health presentations in the primary and elementary schools. Dental forms go home with the children after dental health presentations. The hygienist is then located in the health office, until all children signed up by their parent or guardian are seen. Dental forms are also available in the health office at each school for high school students. All dental forms must be completed, signed and returned by a parent or guardian to the child’s teacher or health office if in the high school. We collect all forms, whether yes or no, to know that parents have received the information.
The program offers a free dental screening/ referral, and homecare instructions to every student. Children can also sign up for a prophylaxis (cleaning) and fluoride treatment. Dental sealants will be offered if the child is in need of them, although additional parental consent is required. After a child has been seen, a report is sent home and/or the parents/guardians are contacted to discuss any findings and make a referral if needed. Referrals for restorations (cavity /fillings), stainless steel crowns, simple extractions and orthodontics are made. The hygenist provides a list of area dental providers that accept Child Health Plus and Medicaid.
We also continued to work with the Common Ground Health to pull together data for a dental health needs assessment for the region. Data has been finalized and a meeting is scheduled in December to develop a prioritized strategic plan.