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St. Luke's Grant Helps Community College Dental Clinic Serve Those in Need

By Sandra Wurdemann, News and Community
July 30, 2015
"With St. Luke's partnering with us, we can see more patients and have a better community-service base," said Cindy Harding, Director of Dental Hygiene at the College of Southern Idaho.

The College of Southern Idaho’s dental clinic opened in 2010 to serve people in need of dental care.

The clinic located at the college is served by second-year Dental Hygiene students, along with skilled faculty members.

Under the supervision of a dentist, the students perform dental exams, cleanings, X-rays, fluoride treatment and dental sealants.

The on-campus clinic sees 850 to 900 patients a year. As that need continues, the clinic relies on funds to serve what the CSI Director of Dental Hygiene calls the “underserved” in our community.

“Underserved are those that do not have benefits from their work so they do not have dental insurance, which limits their ability to go to a private practice dentist. It’s expensive to have dental and medical work done so we look at that as being underserved,” said Cindy Harding, Director of Dental Hygiene at the College of Southern Idaho. “Medicaid covers many dental procedures, but there are many that are not covered.”

The College of Southern Idaho dental clinic is one of 20 grant recipients recently awarded monies during the second round of St. Luke’s Magic Valley’s Community Health Improvement Funds.

St. Luke’s Magic Valley has a Community Health Improvement Fund which provides financial support for organizations that share St. Luke’s goal of improving the health of people in the region.

The dental clinic is no stranger to the receiving these funds. In fact, they have received $49,500 during the past five years.

Funds will be used to support the CSI dental clinic in providing vouchers for services and disposable supplies to operate the CSI Oral Health Clinic Vouchers Program.

“We have formed a voucher system,” Harding said. “Many of the people who come in still don’t have the money to pay, even though we have limited and reduced fees, so based upon referral, these vouchers will go to these individuals to receive care. We don’t want a financial barrier in their way. Children have a $30 voucher and adults have a $20 voucher.”

Harding said the grant from St. Luke’s allows the clinic to have the voucher system and serve more of the community.

“Without that, we wouldn’t be able to have the oral health clinics. It wouldn’t exist,” Harding said. “It pays for supplies, service, the equipment that needs to be maintained. With St. Luke’s partnering with us, we can see more patients and have a better community-service base. We would be limited if we didn’t have that.”

Improving the health of our community, one grant recipient at a time.

If you would like to hear more from Cindy Harding, Director of Dental Hygiene at the College of Southern Idaho, check out her interview below.

About The Author

Sandra Wurdemann works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.