KANSAS CITY, MO – The Health Forward Foundation (Health Forward) has awarded a $250,000 grant to help establish a full-time dental clinic for low-income and uninsured children in Cass County. The clinic is slated to open in July 2011 in Belton, Missouri and is expected to serve 1,000 children.
“Health Forward is excited to make this investment in Cass County. It provides us a welcomed opportunity to invest in an important issue, children’s oral health,” said Steve Roling, Health Forward PresidentCEO. “We continue to be impressed by the collaborative nature of this project. Dentists, school administrators, county extension agents, and law enforcement have come together to prioritize the oral health of Cass County’s children.”
Last year, Health Forward was one of many organizations who created a Cass County Oral Health Coalition. The Coalition has been meeting for the past eighteen months and includes local dentists, hygienists, community and government leaders, representatives from local and state social service agencies and private foundations. The Health Forward grant will be administered by the Research Belton Foundation, who coordinates the work of the coalition and has a long history of working on oral health issues in Cass County.
“Research Belton Foundation has been providing low income children with emergency dental care since 2006,” said Cynthia Randazzo, President, Research Belton Foundation. “Our goal with the Cass County Dental Clinic is to provide low income children with a dental home where they can benefit from preventative and emergency dental services throughout the year.”
The Coalition is currently in the process of hiring a dental clinic coordinator. The goal is to open the clinic in July 2011. The clinic will serve children below 200% of the federal poverty level. In the first six months, the clinic is expected to serve 1,000 children, a majority of which will be on Medicaid. For those who are uninsured and not eligible for Medicaid, the clinic will offer a sliding-scale fee.
“There are approximately 6,000 children on Medicaid that live in Cass County with virtually no access to oral health care,” said Terry Myers, DDS, member of the Cass County Oral Health Coalition. “We are excited about opening a clinic that will provide oral health care to all low income children in our county.”