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Kannapolis, N.C. – Cabarrus Health Alliance officials learned this week they are receiving $200,000 from The Cannon Foundation to expand dental services.
CHA will expand its public health dental delivery services to uninsured, underinsured, and underserved children through the purchase and coordination of portable dental chairs and equipment into schools. This equipment can be transported in a van and brought into any classroom space that has a standard electrical supply. CHA’s current dental mobile unit is limited in its ability to provide access to care due to age and limitations of the units. The unit’s structure allows for only certain procedures and the lack of compatible hook up connections limits the unit to serve only 15 schools. With the support of The Cannon Foundation, CHA will increase the number of schools participating in the dental program from 15 to 35. Funds will cover the cost of a digital x-ray sensor system, dental equipment, and a dental van to transport equipment to various school sites. CHA expects that insurance and fees will generate sufficient revenue for the system to support its expenses within the first three years of operation.
CHA currently operates in two fixed clinic locations, one in Kannapolis and one in Concord. This innovative model takes the service to the children so that barriers such as transportation become non-existent.
“Dental health is one predictor of student success in the classroom. If a child is suffering with dental pain and they are unable to go to the dentist, it is really hard for them to focus on school work which ultimately hinders their success,” states Janie Woodie, Dental Program Director. “Our current large mobile truck has been successful for many years, but has its limitations including only having space and hook ups at a few elementary schools. This new system will allow us to expand to middle and high schools also.” Janie continued.
“Cabarrus County and North Carolina alike fall well below the recommended number of dentists needed to serve everyone. This innovative model of care will help serve children in a setting that is comfortable to them and remove transportation issues while also helping parents whose work schedules may make it difficult for them to take their children to the dentist,” shared Dr. William Pilkington, CEO and Public Health Director.
Dr. Burns, a seasoned mobile dental site practitioner, is also excited about this new funding and what it will allow CHA to do.
“I have been working in mobile dental clinics since 2003 and cannot start to tell you how excited I am to see this new equipment that can go directly into the school buildings. The equipment is state of the art and is the same quality that is used in our clinics at Cabarrus Health Alliance. This grant is a huge step forward in our efforts to serve the children of Cabarrus County. This grant will help children miss minimal amounts of school to obtain quality dental care while saving parents time and money. In the time it takes a parent to sign their child out of school and drive to the dentist, their child’s dental treatment will be completed right there at the school. The great thing about this program it is not bound by age, we can treat preschoolers all the way to high school! I am looking forward to seeing this program implemented in the 2014-15 school year. Coming soon to a school near you!”
CHA anticipates the new system to launch in September.