Program offers care for uninsured or underinsured youth
The Forest Lake region is reaping a benefit of being home to the northern Washington County Service Center. The county recently started a program at the center which provides dental care to underinsured and uninsured children and pregnant women.
It marks the second venture between Washington County and Children’s Dental Services. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit has brought its mobile clinic to the county service center in Cottage Grove once a month for several years. Participation has increased every year, said Jill Timm, Washington County Public Health and Environment Program manager.
The plan is to replicate that service in Forest Lake, though the clinic is in a trial period and may be offered only every other month as demand builds. Usage will be monitored for six to nine months, at which time the county will decide whether to continue the service on a long-term basis, according to Timm.
“Dental services in the county are lacking, especially for low-income families,” she said. “Because we had that partnership and relationship (in Cottage Grove) and it had gone well once a month, we thought we’d try to utilize clinic space in Forest Lake as well.”
CDS utilizes the Women, Infants and Childrens Clinic at the service center, which is used for its named purpose only on Thursdays. CDS is always scheduled for the first Wednesday of whichever month the service is being offered. The next visit to Forest Lake will be Wednesday, June 5.
Once set up, the dental program functions much like a traditional clinic. Children and pregnant women can schedule cleanings and fillings or even X-rays, extractions and crowns. Insured adults ages 18-21 are also eligible. The program is designed for residents of Washington County, but especially given the proximity to the county border, others will not be turned away.
Likewise, no patient will be turned away due to an inability to pay. CDS accepts MinnesotaCare, Medical Assistance and private insurance, but those uninsured qualify either for free service or for care on a sliding scale.
Patients must schedule appointments in advance so CDS can tailor its staffing. To do so, call CDS at 612-746-1530 or 866-543-6009.
CDS has more than 300 satellite clinics across the state, including one at the Head Start preschool in Forest Lake. That clinic is open only to students at the center. CDS offers patient assistance in 17 languages.