The University of Missouri-Kansas City dental school has begun an outreach program to help five community centers meet the oral health needs of indigent families and children.
Bearing the name Partnership for Smiles, the program is designed to relieve some of the burden on public health facilities that are overwhelmed by Medicaid patients. Two dentists, two hygienists, and dental and dental hygiene students will rotate through the health centers under the program, which is funded by a three-year, $373,000 grant frm The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That cash will be matched dollar for dollar by a consortium of local funding partners.
Sponsors hope to treat 7,500 indigent children and families each year. A 1998 study by the Missouri Department of Health found that 32 percent of Medicaid patients there were denied dental care because of low reimbursement rates.