According to a news release, many low-income residents in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County struggle to find providers who accept Medicaid or options they can afford.
“We cannot express the relief this grant will bring to our organization and community”, said Sophie Parson, executive director of the Augusta Regional Dental Clinic. “On a daily basis, we receive over 20 calls from new patients wishing to establish care with us. And the number keeps going up. Most dental offices around us are full or not accepting new Medicaid patients. Patients have called the entire county to find a provider with no luck. This is now about to change.”
According to the Augusta Health community health needs assessment released in July 2022, 65 percent of low-income residents of the Staunton-Augusta County-Waynesboro area have not visited a dentist in the past 12 months. This number is up 12 points compared to 2019.
Lack of preventative care and untreated dental disease can lead to severe pain, infections, teeth loss and costly trips to the emergency department.
The awarded funds are part of a general partnership between the VHCF and the ARDC and will cover part of a new dentist’s salary.
“Since 2021, our clinic has worked to increase its capacity and offer more appointments to the community. We have hired new part-time providers and reorganized our dental hygiene department for more efficiency. The VHCF grant is a game changer for our clinic as a new full-time provider will allow us to reopen to new patients later this fall,” said Misty Ladd, ARDC office manager.
With the grant, the ARDC says they will be able to provide dental care to approximately 920 low-income residents by June 30, 2023.
Located in Fishersville, the ARDC has been supporting medically underserved patients in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County for nearly 30 years. Since 2020, the clinic has been focusing on providing affordable and high-quality dental care to community members.
In 2021, more than 3,850 patients received treatment at the ARDC.
For more information, visit http://augustaregionaldentalclinic.org