Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Growing Dental Care Needs Among the Poor

Sunday's Tribune contained an interesting article highlighting a problem that we encounter often in our work among people who face economic challenges. Affordable dental care is very difficult to find, so many, with looming needs, remain untreated. 1.8 million state residents are uninsured; of those with medical coverage, as many as 40 percent don't have dental insurance. Stroger Hospital (formerly Cook County Hospital) gets 7,000 calls a month from people who want to see a dentist, but its clinic has only 777 monthly appointments. Fortunately, a dental van from Advocate Health Care, makes a monthly stop at our women's shelter in East Garfiel Park so our homeless women can be treated. But even our staff struggle to maintain adequate dental care. Our salaries are relatively low, our health insurance doesn't cover dental care, and we are not allowed to use the dental van.

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