Jefferson Healthcare will be home to the first Rural Health Dental Clinic in Washington State. The clinic co-located in the Sheridan Medical Office Building which currently houses primary care and behavioral health offers patients dental services integrated with other aspects of health care. The new JH Dental Clinic is accepting appointments with the estimated opening date of Monday, June 17. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 360.344.1005.
Offering hygiene appointments which include comprehensive oral exams, x-rays, periodontal exams and cavity fills, the clinic’s primary goal is to serve children and adults on Medicaid/Washington State Apple Health; this population often has a difficult time finding local, convenient dental care. The new clinic will fill that gap by serving an estimated 3,000 children and adults annually in the six-chair office.
Dental care for the under and un-insured is one of the most critical health needs in east Jefferson County. Jefferson Healthcare will be the first Rural Health Clinic (RHC) in WA State to offer dental services. This innovative solution of integrating dental services into primary care clinics operating as RHCs will leverage the recent changes to the WA State Medicaid program which now allow RHCs to bill an encounter rate rather than a fee-for-service rate for dental services. The changes to the WA State Medicaid program will allow for Jefferson Healthcare to provide dental care to the most vulnerable in the community who often are forced to delay care until they go to the emergency department. “The integration of our new dental clinic with primary care and behavioral health utilizes a whole person care concept. Our staff is ready to serve the needs of our community, focus on prevention and life-style and offer compassionate care to all of our dental patients,” says Dr. William Catelli, DDS, dental director.
Medicare does not cover most dental care. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover – like vision, hearing, or dental. Medicare patients are encouraged to contact their plan administrator for more information.
Jefferson County has one of the lowest utilization rates for dental care services for Medicaid eligible clients in WA State, having ranked 39 out of 39 counties for five years. In 2017, Jefferson County moved up to third last. Since the expansion of Medicaid there are almost 9,000 Jefferson County residents, 2,400 children, who are eligible for Washington State Apple Health; of these only 21% receive dental care. Currently, Jefferson County has no dentists who see adults with Medicaid. “The new dental clinic allows access to affordable dental care otherwise unavailable in small communities,” says Dr. Pavel Vasilyuk, DDS.
In addition, the economic benefits to the community associated with the project will be great. The avoidance of expensive and unnecessary emergency department visits, better oral health care for patients with chronic diseases yields better outcomes and lower cost to the patient. A reduction in absenteeism at school and work due to dental pain can be expected and this will add several skill jobs to the community.
This project has been made possible with support from the Taxpayers of Washington State, Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Legislators, Washington State Department of Health, the Arcora Foundation, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation. Jefferson Healthcare acknowledges the Washington State District 24 Legislative Delegation, Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, and Senator Van De Wege, for their vision in identifying the need for dental services in Jefferson County and their support in moving this work forward.
For community members seeking more information about financial options for health care please contact the Financial Counselors at Jefferson Healthcare 360.385.2200 ext 2267.