Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC), Inc. has partnered with North Country Hospital and the Vermont Department of Oral Health to replicate The Community Dental Program, a highly successful transportation program between schools and dental offices. The program began with the Orleans County School District (OCSU) on November 1, 2018.
“We have had great collaboration from the OCSU schools welcoming the opportunity to partner with this program and the parental response has been very appreciative. We expect as we proceed, the program participation will continue to grow and we will have to expand the delegated time for this program to allow for all interested parties to participate,” said Michelle Tetreault, Director of Dental Operations at NCHC.
According to VT Medicaid claims in 2014, only 62% of children ages 6 to 18 have received preventive treatment and 66% have received dental services by a dental provider. “The percent of students seen by a dentist in the OCSU district has seen a steady decline over the past three years,” said Tetreault. “In 2015, over 30,000 eligible children did not see a dentist due to a multitude of reasons and we want to break down those barriers.”
The reasons for not seeking the services of a dentist include not believing there is a reason to go, not having a dentist or difficulty in getting an appointment, the parent or guardian cannot leave work to take the child, transportation issues, cost, and the dentist not accepting Dr. Dynasaur/Medicaid.
“The Community School Dental Program has been impactful and Public Health Hygienist, Ashley Cleveland has stepped in to assist and coordinate with our Orleans Dental Center to connect with all interested schools within the OCSU District. We are pleased to provide these important services to our young Vermonters,” said Tetreault.
The opportunities of the program include assistance with transportation needs, removing the need for the parent or guardian to leave work, offering access to a dental group who accepts Dr. Dynasaur/Medicaid, and developing good dental habits at a young age, which will help in preventing other dental health issues later in life.
Based on its success, the Community Dental Program has been replicated by the Newport Elementary, Troy Elementary, and Derby Elementary Schools.
For more information about this program, contact Michelle Tetreault at 802-748-9405 ext. 5003.