Uninsured to get help for trip to dentist

REACH program to offer services at reduced price

January 26, 2007|By DAN LAMOTHE | DAN LAMOTHE,Special to The Sun

After more than two decades with the same set of dentures, Eleanor Noe of Annapolis would love nothing more than to see a dentist.

As a part-time employee making deliveries for a local florist, though, she has not been able to afford to go , she said.

"I know a lot of people who are like this," she said. "There are a lot of hardworking people who just can't afford it. Companies don't cover part-time employees, and it's just hard."

For those in Arundel County who are in Noe's situation, things may be looking up.

Beginning in August, the county Department of Health will offer reduced-price dental care to hundreds of low-income adults without dental insurance.

The services will be provided through its Residents Access to a Coalition of Health program, a partnership with the Anne Arundel Medical Society, and funded by a three-year, $450,000 grant the Department of Health was recently awarded by the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission.

About 300 people per year will receive services through the program, county health officials said. The grant money will be used to pay for dental consultants and supplies, with dental care taking place at the department's facility in Glen Burnie.

Cleanings, cavity treatments and other procedures will be offered at a reduced cost on a sliding scale based on the patient's income.

To qualify, a single adult must make less than $24,500 per year, said Linda O. Josephson, deputy director of the Department of Health's Division of Community Health.

Josephson and Jean Williamson, division director, said that there was competition from several other counties for the grant, and REACH helped Arundel get it.

"It's very well accepted," Josephson said. "It has worked out to be a very good program for the residents in the county."

The effort marks the second time in a year that dental care has been offered to the uninsured.

In March, Anne Arundel Medical Center opened a free dental clinic in the Stanton Community Center in Annapolis.

Noe, who also receives medical care through REACH, said the new county program will provide "a service that is so needed."

"There's a lot of people now that will go to the dentist through this program who otherwise couldn't," she said. "REACH has been a godsend to me."

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