A dental grant has gone a long way in providing free dental work for children in Mille Lacs County, according to Kris Klopp, child and teen checkup coordinator/WIC coordinator for Mille Lacs County.
“We received a Delta Dental Grant (In February of 2019, with a partnership between Mille Lacs County Community Health and Mille Lacs Health System) of $50,000 and had a total of 35 total events held in the communities and schools,” said Klopp. “Each provider (dentist) did about 10-12 appointments per day.” The grant provides dental services to children ages 0 to 18 and pregnant women up to age 26.
She explained that the dentists set up mobile clinics in the school districts and that the funds/services were specifically targeted to assist individuals with no insurance, underinsured or on Medicaid.
So far this year, approximately $37,000 has been used of the grant in the Princeton, Milaca, Onamia, and Isle areas with the largest amount going to children hosted by the Milaca Community Veterans Services (CVS) at $2,958.76.
The catalyst behind the dental service grant is the low Medical Assistance (MA) reimbursement rate for dental services. Because of this, explained Klopp, it is difficult for families with Medicaid to find a dental home.
“We have had 31 dental clinics to date throughout the county,” said Klopp. Locations have included Onamia (Rolf Olsen Center), Isle IREC, Milaca CVS, Princeton Early Childhood Center, Allstar Daycare in Milaca, OCC Onamia schools, OCC Milaca Schools, Princeton Schools, Milaca Schools, Onamia Schools, and Isle Schools.
Klopp said there won’t likely be any more dental clinics scheduled this year.
Klopp would like to thank Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation for financially supporting these efforts.
More about the program
The program was developed to increase education and awareness about the importance of good oral health from a young age and the effects that oral health has on the overall health of an individual. Mille Lacs County Community Health Staff was active in the community providing student and parent oral health education, free dental varnishing and oral health kits to children.
This funding supports mobile dental clinics in the community setting as well as in the schools throughout Mille Lacs County. The mobile dental clinics helped to remove or minimize the insurance and transportation barriers to local families.