Our Care Mobile, operated in partnership with St. Peter’s Health Care Services, provides free, comprehensive dental care to underserved and underinsured children attending area schools. Our well-equipped, child-friendly “dental suite on wheels” serves elementary and middle school students in need of dental services, regardless of their family’s ability to access or pay for those services.
In June of 2006, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, Inc. (RMHC) launched a Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile in partnership with St. Peter’s Health Care Services (SPHCS). The Care Mobile addresses the restorative dental needs of children in the Capital District, beginning with children within the City of Albany.
A 2005 study of kindergarteners and second graders in the City of Albany was conducted to identify oral health needs. In the first two months of the project, more than 600 children in Albany schools were screened. The results showed that 44% had dental caries and, on average, each child had 4.9 caries. Further, dental problems have been identified as the second leading cause of absenteeism in Capital District schools.
Research shows that the following barriers exist within our community and result in children not receiving vital dental care:
- While federally qualified health centers, local hospitals and public health departments offer some dental services, wait times are excessive.
- There are only a handful of private dentists who accept Medicaid and Child Health Plus in the community.
- The logistics and/or cost of travel to and from point of care locations is sometimes prohibitive.
- Parents may not have the ability to take time from work to attend appointments.
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile serves as an immediate solution to these barriers.
Services provided include, but are not be limited to:
- initial exam and X-rays services provided by both hygienist and dentist;
- prophylaxis and fluoride services;
- sealants on all eligible permanent molars;
- restorative and/or urgent dental care to include fillings, extractions, endodontics and prosthodontics.
- Provide instant access to full dental care and treatment for low-income areas throughout the Capital District.
- Provide high-quality pediatric dentistry, as well as serve as a community resource for enrollment of uninsured and underinsured children.
- Be the source of primary dental care for children unable to access care elsewhere due to transportation, socio-economic barriers and/or inability of parental involvement in dental care.
- Increase awareness of preventive dental health and access to services.
- Expand the number of oral health screenings, sealants and dental caries interventions on an annual basis.
- Increase Medicaid, CHP, FHP enrollment of uninsured children and their families.
- Decrease absenteeism in local schools.
- Provide educational programs in all grades, school assemblies and PTA meetings in targeted schools and in selected community organizations.
- Expand this service throughout and beyond the Capital District.