West Virginia Health Right launched a new mobile dental health clinic today at a Charleston ribbon cutting ceremony.
The unit will travel to six underserved West Virginia counties – McDowell, Logan, Boone, Clay, Roane and Harrison, offering services primarily for free. West Virginia Medicaid – the largest provider in these counties – does not cover preventative dental services for adults.
“I anticipate at probably at least 500 per county, per year. My guesstimate is about 3000 people a year,” said Angie Settle, executive director of West Virginia Health Right. She said the idea was born soon after last year’s floods, but it took them about six months to pull together funders and partners for the new project.
Health Right is partnering with Marshall University who will providing a faculty member to oversee the mobile dental clinic.
“As the program goes maybe next spring they’ll take on more residents to help add more care. Because we have the capacity for two dentists at a time, actually because it’s three chairs and a hygienist so you could have three chairs going at the same time,” said Settle.
To begin with the mobile clinic will travel three days a week – Settle hopes to increase that to five, but said increasing days will be contingent on funding.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.