Many of us healthcare activists and others in this town have identified emergency dental needs (previous CHIP efforts highlighted it) and have advocated for creation of this to fill in a huge gap for low income people.
With help from the legislature and guidance from Jefferson Healthcare, it has finally come to fruition.
Jefferson Healthcare is home to the first Rural Health Dental Clinic in Washington State. The clinic co-located in the Sheridan Medical Office Building which currently houses primary care and behavioral health offers patients dental services integrated with other aspects of health care. An Open House for the new clinic will be held Tuesday, June 18, 3:30 pm at 915 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend.
The new dental clinic offers hygiene appointments which include comprehensive oral exams, x-rays, periodontal exams and cavity fills. The clinic’s primary goal is to serve children and adults on Medicaid/Washington State Apple Health; this population often has a difficult time finding local, convenient dental care. The new clinic will fill that gap by serving an estimated 3,000 children and adults annually in the six-chair office.
Dental care for Medicaid patients and the under and un-insured is one of the most critical health needs in east Jefferson County. Jefferson Healthcare will be the first Rural Health Clinic (RHC) in WA State to offer dental services. This innovative solution of integrating dental services into primary care clinics operating as RHCs will leverage the recent changes to the WA State Medicaid program which now allow RHCs to bill an encounter rate rather than a fee-for-service rate for dental services. The changes to the WA State Medicaid program will allow for Jefferson Healthcare to provide dental care to the most vulnerable in the community who often are forced to delay care until they go to the emergency department. “The integration of our new dental clinic with primary care and behavioral health utilizes a whole person care concept. Our staff is ready to serve the needs of our community, focus on prevention and life-style and offer compassionate care to all of our dental patients,” says Dr. William Catelli, DDS, dental director.
This project has been made possible with support from the Taxpayers of Washington State, Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Legislators, Washington State Department of Health, the Arcora Foundation, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation. Jefferson Healthcare acknowledges the Washington State District 24 Legislative Delegation, Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, and Senator Van De Wege, for their vision in identifying the need for dental services in Jefferson County and their support in moving this work forward.
The clinic is currently accepting appointments with the estimated opening date of Monday, June 24. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 360.344.1005. For community members seeking more information about financial options for health care please contact the Financial Counselors at Jefferson Healthcare 360.385.2200 ext 2267.