Free/low cost dental care for adults is available at Health Care Network Inc. of Racine.
Barb Tylenda, executive director of the clinic says that in order to be eligible for the program adults must be :
- Racine county residents
- Low income
“Give Kids a Smile Day” is a day for free dental visits for kids. It will be at Health Care Network on February 4. They are planning to see 60 children on this day. The next day is devoted to fixing the teeth they diagnosed that need care. This clinic usually only sees adults because many children qualify for medicaid. This is just a special event each year during Children’s Dental Health Month.
HCN is a non-profit dental and medical clinic. Tylenda says the clinic has been open since 2005. Ten volunteer dentists rotate through the clinic each month. About 46 other Racine county dentists see patients in their offices on a volunteer basis if needed. If a patient needs a specialty dentist they are sent to the volunteer specialist’s office. Ms. Tylenda says that is because they don’t always have the equipment the specialists need at the dental clinic. Five dental hygienists and five assistants also volunteer services each month at the clinic. Many of the supplies are donated. There is one paid position at the dental clinic, the clinic coordinator.
While 13% of the donations come from Racine county most of the clinic’s revenue each year comes from private donations. Many people write checks from $5 to $10 or larger that keep the clinic going. It is a non-profit clinic so all donations are tax deductible. The clinic had a record number of 10,054 appointments this year, and a 24% increase in prescription assistance compared to last year.
The clinic needs outside funding, Tylenda said. The clinic has a fund raiser each year. This year, on May 5th, a woman named Barbara Rinella will do an interpretation of the book “I feel bad about my neck” by Nora Ephron at a luncheon. It will be held at the Meadowbrook Country Club. Tylenda states that many of the people and businesses are still donating, but with the change in the economy it is now in smaller amounts.
Middle photo: Dr Debbie Palmer and dental assistant Peg Pier with Clinic patient. Lower photo: Kathy Contreras a hygienist educating patient on correct cleaning procedure.
Donations can be sent to: Health Care Network, 904 State Street, Racine, WI 53404
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