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Dental clinic to cut hours
Foundation says it is struggling to meet its expenses
Sunday, December 1, 2013
The Community Dental Clinic will reduce its operations to continue to provide services to the indigent in the Martinsville area.
Dr. Mark Crabtree, president of the Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation, which operates the clinic, stated in a release Friday that funds are insufficient for the clinic to continue its current operations for much longer.
Dr. Risa Odum, the clinic dentist since 2009, will become part time next year. Over the next 18 months, operating hours will be reduced to meet available funds. The clinic has 4.5 positions.
There is a waiting list of two years for appointments for comprehensive dental services, Crabtree said.
“It is unfortunate that the waiting period will be lengthened because of the downsizing, but we will try to see emergencies as soon as possible,” he said.
“Our priority is to maintain the dental student program,” said Crabtree.
Currently, each fourth-year student at the School of Dentistry at Virginia Commonwealth University spends at least a week in Martinsville treating patients under the supervision of Odum and volunteer dentists from the community.
Crabtree said Millennia Consulting had not identified any long-term grants for the clinic.
“Funding community dental clinics is difficult,” wrote David Rappoport, the consultant. “The unmet need for dental services in some areas is dramatic, and public and private funding and reimbursement sources are limited.”
Meanwhile, the foundation’s community fundraising campaign will continue through the end of the year.
“We hope residents of the Martinsville area will support the clinic as they consider their gifts for the holidays,” said Crabtree.
The money raised will be used to treat patients within the dental student program.
“We must have the VCU students and the continuing volunteer services of dentists in the area to fulfill our core mission of meeting the dental needs of the indigent in the community,” said Crabtree.
Since only 44 percent of the clinic’s expenses are covered by fees and reimbursements, it must have support from foundations, businesses and individuals, he said.
“Our financial condition is in a reasonable condition today,” said Dr. Edward “Chopper” Snyder, vice president of the foundation, “but the time is approaching when expenses will be more than income if we do not receive significant grants and donations.”
To donate to the foundation, call 632-7727. The foundation is a tax-exempt organization.