On Aug. 6, UCare Minnesota, in cooperation with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, will roll out UCare Tooth Care, a 37-foot Winnebago that has been specially designed as a mobile dental unit for UCare members enrolled in state public health care programs. UCare is the only health plan in Minnesota to own and operate a mobile dental unit.
Faculty, staff, and students from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry will staff the unit, which is equipped with three dental chairs and state-of-the-art dental equipment. Qualified students, under the supervision of a School of Dentistry faculty member, will provide primarily preventive and limited restorative dental care, and referrals for follow-up visits. UCare Tooth Care will begin providing services in and around the Twin Cities metro area and will expand to the rest of the state in six months. The unit can schedule 15 patients a day and will be operational on most weekdays.
"We have been concerned for some time about the problems our members were having in accessing crucial dental care," said UCare President and CEO Nancy Feldman. "We believe that UCare Tooth Care is a creative solution to this problem."
"We are excited to partner with UCare as we look at alternative ways to meet the needs of Minnesotans who have trouble accessing dental care," said Paul Olin, DDS, M.S., Associate Dean-Clinical Systems, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
In addition to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, UCare also partnered with:
-- Itasca Corporation, which will handle administrative duties, such as billing, scheduling, driving, and maintenance,
-- Doral Dental Services, Inc., UCare's dental services provider, which will assist with referrals when additional services are necessary,
-- Counties, community agencies, and clinics, which will provide parking space for the unit and waiting areas for patients.
UCare Minnesota is an independent, nonprofit health maintenance organization (HMO) serving more than 100,000 members. UCare offers income-based health programs, including Prepaid Medical Assistance, Prepaid General Assistance Medical Care, and MinnesotaCare, in 78 Minnesota counties. UCare also provides health insurance programs for seniors: UCare for Seniors, a Medicare+Choice product for Medicare beneficiaries in the metropolitan area and adjacent counties; and UCare Senior Select, a Medicare Select product. In addition, UCare offers Minnesota Senior Health Options, a program for seniors who have Medical Assistance, but may or may not be eligible for Medicare.
The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry is the state's only dental school, graduating dentists, dental hygienists, dental specialists and scientists dedicated to education, research and service to benefit the profession and the communities it serves.