Free Dental Clinic Making Changes

By: Mike Mueller
By: Mike Mueller

The Augusta Regional Free Dental Clinic treats 2,700 patients each year in the greater Augusta area. To keep it that way, a new organization is taking over and was introduced at Thursday night's open house.

With the Augusta Regional Free Dental Clinic's federal grant expiring in April, changes are now taking place to help cover that cost. Mainly through the billing of Medicaid.

"We had to separate the dental clinic from the medical clinic in order to be able to bill Medicaid and have some sort of financing to run the operation," says Richard Mansfield, D.D.S. of the Augusta Regional Dental Clinic.

State by-laws restrict free clinics from billing Medicaid or insurance companies. So, in order to get around that hump a new organization is taking charge... The Augusta Regional Dental Clinic.

"Our goal is for everyone to have a healthy mouth and free from pain and infection," says Mansfield.

But to do that now, means a little extra money for the visit which adjusts on a sliding scale for adults. Kids covered by Medicaid are still free.

"So for $30-$50 or for your children on Medicaid, those 7500 children. It's a wonderful service," says The Augusta Regional Free Clinic exectuive director Scott Litten.

Which will serve you better, from local cleanings to root canals, and the addition of a part time dental hygenist.

"If anything we'll be able to see more patients and provide more services," adds Mansfield.

Those without Medicaid will still be treated through Kiwanis and Head Start programs. The new organization takes over this May.

The new and improved clinic is looking to expand it's service outside the county to Rockingham, Rockbridge and Nelson counties in the future.


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