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Dental Clinic In Works for Warren County

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The Warren County Health Department has secured enough money to open a dental clinic to serve low-income children.

The clinic will accept Medicaid and also offer a sliding-scale for service fees.

The health department’s Jenna Link said there is a shortage of dental providers in the county that accept Medicaid.  She said a lot of dentists are not interested in working with Medicaid because of the level of reimbursement and the delay of state payments that can cause cash flow problems.  

“A lot of private providers don’t want to hassle with that system and don’t need to because they can work with those with private insurance,” Link said.

She said many families are then forced to travel out of the county for dental care.

“For those that are on a restricted income sometimes it’s tough to have transportation to get to the facilities that are available and so having something more local it will make it easier and give them options as to where they want to have their treatment done,” Link said.

The health department received grants worth $700,000 to open the clinic. The money came from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation as well as the Community Health Foundation of Warren and Henderson Counties.

Link said that’s enough money to purchase equipment and cover all start-up costs, plus pay salaries for dental clinic staff for a few months.

A site for the clinic has not yet been chosen. But Link said the facility should be open within a year.

The Warren County Health Department was able to complete a planning study for the dental clinic with a $25,000 grant from Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.