Fifty Three to Fifty Six: Kaufert and the Dental Clinic

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kaufert and the Dental Clinic

Apparently according to the Appleton Post Crescent, Rep Dean Kaufert has "secured a grant of $75,000 for the Tri-County Dental Clinic".

I am curious what role Kaufert himself played, if any, as I would imagine the clinic applied for these services and was awarded a grant from a special one-time fund available for low-income dental services - of which Kaufert had little to do with.

$75,000 is always a nice addition to any service provider, and the Tri-County Dental Clinic is a great service to residents of the Fox Valley.

Here is what Kaufert had to say:

"There is strong demand for access to dental services in the Fox Valley and the Tri-County Dental Clinic does a superb job of meeting that need,” said Kaufert. “Good dental care upfront saves our health care system so much money down the road. This is a wise use of surplus funds.”The grant is designed to enhance dental access to low-income or uninsured residents of Winnebago, Outagamie and Calumet counties.“I receive many calls from constituents searching for dental services in our area”, said Kaufert. “I make so many referrals to this clinic that I was glad I could secure some funding for their efforts.” see article here

What wasn't mentioned in the story was why the funds were available, and why Kaufert might be receiving so many phone calls.

The funds were made available to provide support to the extremely over-worked low-cost / free dental clinics throughout the state. These clinics provide care to low-income individuals unable to obtain care elsewhere.

Why is Kaufert receiving so many calls? Because these clinics are the only dental care option to everyone without insurance, and everyone with state or federal insurance (BadgerCare, etc). It is impossible to find a dentist that accepts state or federal insurance, which is a serious issue that Kaufert and the legislature fail to discuss.

Because of the great demand, these low-income clinics often have long waiting lists, and are only able to provide limited services - or in other words, they are not able to provide the full dental care needed by Wisconsin's low-income children and families.

The state either needs to greatly expand their funding for these programs and expand the number of these facilities, or they need to address the inadequacies of their dental care insurance program. With no low-income dental clinic and very limited options in Oshkosh, Gordon Hintz and Carol Owens should work hard to address this huge gap in government service.



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