Some 75% of children referred to a dentist for restorative care do not seek treatment due to access barriers. These include the family’s lack of transportation, job conflicts, lack of child care for siblings, language and cultural factors, and limited availability of providers who accept uninsured or Medicaid-eligible patients. To address these barriers and increase the number of children receiving necessary treatment, Mira established a permanent dental clinic in 2009. The Mira Dental Clinic, located at 6808 Academy Parkway East in Albuquerque, serves as a safety net and referral source for students and families needing a permanent dental home
What is a dental care safety net?
A dental care safety net clinic is where people go
- When they don't have a regular dentist
- Because they know Medicaid will be accepted
- Because they won't be turned away when they are in pain and can't afford care
- Because the clinic is close to home and linked to their other health care providers
The Institute of Medicine's report, America's Health Care Safety Net (2000), defines safety net providers as those who "organize and deliver a significant level of health care and other health-related services to uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerable patients."
Why do we need a dental care safety net?
The Surgeon General's Report, Oral Health in America (2000), provides a thorough review of the nation's oral health and the need for collaboration between private sector and public sector approaches to prevention and treatment of oral conditions. It The report also emphasizes that oral health is essential to general health and that systemic conditions influence oral health. Despite advances in technology and the scientific understanding of oral diseases, significant disparities exist in oral disease rates and access to dental care among subgroups of the population. The dental safety net attempts to bridge the gap for these disenfranchised groups.
Dental Home, Co Providers and Partners
Mira’s full treatment dental clinic serves as a dental home to many of the children that are seen in our school based dental program. In those cases when Mira’s clinic is not the ideal solution to meeting the needs of the patient, they are referred to one of our community co-providers. In the Albuquerque area Mira has formed a partnership with Community Dental Services.
Our partnerships with community co-providers/partners capitalizes on the talent and resources of each partner to fully achieve our shared vision:
“We believe that all New Mexicans should have the opportunity to attain their full health potential. No one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their socio-economic position or racial/ethnic origins. As stakeholders, we affirm that oral health is essential to general health and well-being and are dedicated to increasing access to care for all citizens.”