What would you do if you got a cavity and didn’t have dental insurance?

Yesterday we shared about a local service group who created a Dr. Seuss-themed book nook for children at CHAS Maple Street Clinic. In sticking with the Dr. Seuss-theme, consider the following quote: “Only brush the teeth you want to keep.”

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While that advice seems simple enough, what would you do if you got a cavity and didn’t have dental insurance, like the 7,611 uninsured dental patients CHAS Health serves?

Many local partners have stepped up to help low-income and uninsured patients to access oral health services.

  • Providence and CHAS Health have partnered to bring a Dental Residency program to Spokane, targeted to serve low-income patients.
  • The City of Spokane awarded our organization a grant to help low-income, uninsured City of Spokane residents with their out-of-pocket cost for dental care.
  • The Washington State Legislature awarded capital funding to CHAS Health to open a dental clinic in Spokane Valley, and to expand our existing dental clinic in Clarkston.

Over the past five years, CHAS Health has constructed new dental facilities to add 45 dental chairs throughout the Inland Northwest. Fundraising efforts, including donations and grants, have been essential to achieve this expansion, as the equipment for each dental chair costs $60,000. If you are doing the math, that’s $2,700,000 for 45 dental chairs! And, that price tag doesn’t even include the cost to construct the facilities for those dental chairs.

In 2020, we will need to replace the failing dental equipment at our Denny Murphy Clinic, our main Health Care for the Homeless site, located in downtown Spokane. The equipment at this site has been well-maintained for the past 20 years, but is now at its end of life.

In short, our work is not done. We want to help everyone in our community to keep ALL of their teeth! We look forward to new and continued partnerships to continue improving access to oral health care in 2020 and beyond.

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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