Grants Help DuBois Free Medical Clinic Expand Dental Program | News


DuBOIS – The DuBois Inc. Free Medical Clinic is launching a major dental program expansion thanks to the generosity of the AJ & Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust and the Glenn and Ruth Mengle Foundation.

Because ‘Oral Health is Health’, the Free Medical Clinic sought funds to be able to provide expanded service to surrounding residents of the Tri-County Area to residents who do not have health insurance or who are underinsured, according to executive director Donald J. Kruk.

“This translates to residents who only have Medicare A&B but don’t have an additional policy to prove for dental care now potentially eligible,” Kruk said.

The Free Medical Clinic is an established health clinic, located in downtown DuBois, that has provided quality primary health care, pharmaceuticals, specialty diagnostic and referral services to low-income and uninsured residents. of the Tri-County area, which includes Clearfield, Jefferson and Elk Counties. Since its inception in 1998, the clinic has provided $22 million in free medical services to underserved and vulnerable residents in surrounding communities.

“Our current location continues to provide avenues for growth and expansion,” Kruk said.

In addition to providing primary health care services, the clinic also provides dental health services and vision care services (routine eye exam, eye exams for diabetics and corrective eyewear), Kruk said. The clinic also continues to maintain the chronic disease management program, pre-diabetes screening program, heart attack and stroke screening program, and orthopedic services.

After receiving a $92,000 grant from the Palumbo Charitable Trust and $54,000 from the Mengle Foundation, the clinic now plans to further integrate its primary health care services with the expansion of the Oral Care Access Program and behavioral health program.

“At this unique time, we have the opportunity to transform a system that has historically left many people without access to the oral care they deserve,” Kruk said. “Now more than ever, we need to invest in innovative ways to deliver care. The Free Medical Clinic has chosen to respond to this crisis and move us forward towards a future with equity in oral health. Why? Because, quite simply, oral health is health.

Jefferson, Clearfield and Elk counties are designated as underserved areas for access to oral health services. Jefferson County is fully designated as an underserved area.

FMC’s current oral health access program requires expansion in four areas, according to Paula Rock, director of social services at the Free Medical Clinic.

  • The $500 cap is insufficient to meet the severe dental needs of current patients who have neglected or could not afford adequate oral health services.
  • The clinic receives countless calls from area residents seeking discounted or free dental services. Many patients may qualify for partial health care coverage that does not include any dental coverage. Because they have even minimal primary health care coverage, the clinic cannot accept them as free clinic patients.
  • The initial level of dental services was limited to basic dental care, limited restorative services and preventive dental services. The clinic has found that many patients suffer from serious oral diseases that require surgical extraction, periodontics, prosthodontics and endodontics services. Several patients with advanced oral disease have required oral surgery. In order to provide the required range of dental care needed, they would need to expand services to include specialist referrals.
  • Added oral care providers.

The expansion will include:

  • Cap increase – the clinic will increase access to oral health services by increasing the financial capacity to directly cover the cost of dental services provided to FMC patients. Based on analysis of data from services that have already been provided to patients and recommended treatment plans submitted by dental providers, the FMC calculates that in order to provide the recommended level of oral health interventions by dental providers, the cap per patient will be increased to $1,500.
  • Expanded eligibility criteria – the FMC will establish a separate service category within the free clinic, which is specific to oral health care. The eligibility criteria would allow patients who do not have dental insurance either under a separate policy, or the patient may have limited primary health care coverage that excludes dental coverage.

The Oral Care Access Program would provide the following services: basic dental services and restorative dental services, preventive services, referral to specialty dental services, and oral health education and training.

The DuBois Free Medical Clinic, a convenience service affiliated with Penn Highlands DuBois, is located at 47 W. Long Ave. in downtown DuBois. To make an appointment or for more information, call 814-372-2200.


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