Submitted by San Juan County
Residents of San Juan County who don’t have dental insurance or who are covered by Apple Health (Medicaid) can get free or reduced-cost dental care at upcoming mobile clinics on each of the islands.
The public-private partnership making the dental care available includes the North Sound Oral Health Local Impact Network which is funded by the Arcora Foundation and staffed by North Sound Accountable Community of Health; San Juan County Health and Community Services; Medical Teams International; Fish for Teeth; Orcas Island Community Foundation; Lopez Island Family Resource Center; and Community Health Center of Snohomish County.
Dental health significantly affects overall health. The goal of this community/regional partnership is to help those on Medicaid or without insurance get much-needed oral health care and improve their overall health and well-being.
The dental services provided include oral health exams, X-rays, fillings, and tooth extractions. An MTI Dental Van offered the first clinics in January and March on San Juan and Lopez Island.
Additional full-day clinics will rotate among the islands on the following dates:
• Orcas Island – April 14-17, May 10-13, Sept. 22-25, Nov. 3-6
• Lopez Island –Sept. 20-21
• San Juan Island – May 5-8, Oct. 6-9
In addition, the County has hired a Dental Access Coordinator to help triage care to the dental van or handle more acute care needs with teledentistry visits for patients in conjunction with CHCSNO. Once COVID restrictions ease, the hope is to partner with oral hygiene providers to do teeth cleanings in the future.
Data from 2019 show that in San Juan County, only 11% of Adult Apple Health (Medicaid) patients 21 years and older were able to use their Apple Health benefits to receive dental care. That was the lowest percentage of any county in the state.
To access dental van services, call the San Juan County Health Department, 360-378-4474, or contact your local resource center or senior center to get more information and an application.