Ashland County Oral Health Services, Inc.
Ashland County Oral Health Services, Inc., (ACOHS), is a non-profit organization in north central Ohio founded in 2002 by Ashland area residents interested in seeing high quality dental services readily available to all citizens in the Ashland community. ACOHS is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors whose mission it is to make dental care accessible to the community. ACOHS is committed to providing friendly service to lower income community members who are not receiving regular dental care, serving both children and adults. ACOHS’ work is funded by grants, Medicaid and insurance reimbursement, patient fees and contributions from churches, civic organizations and individuals. There are three primary programs that the organization provides: the 9th Street Dental Center, a school sealant program and seminars for seniors on dental health.
9th Street Dental Center
In 2006 and 2007 ACOHS focused on the construction of a 2,160 square foot, 4-chair center where clinical dental services are delivered and where community outreach services are based. Construction was funded primarily by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The clinic opened for business August 30, 2007, providing diagnostic, preventive, restorative and emergency services to children and adults. In 2009, the dental center served 2,184 patients and expanded services to include root canal therapy, crowns, dentures and partials. Another grant from HHS enabled the clinic to upgrade to digital radiography and electronic records. The dental center is open full-time, offering hours by appointment and accepting walk-in patients on Wednesday mornings. In addition, the clinic is open one evening each week. Medicaid, Medicaid-managed care plans and private dental insurance are accepted, with discounts that are based on family income. In 2010, ACOHS received a grant from the Ohio Department of Health making it possible to offer more deeply discounted fees, thereby making dental care truly affordable to the lowest income members of the community.
School Sealant Program
This program has been offered annually since 2004 to second graders in county elementary schools. The sealant program includes educational components and the application of sealants to the children's teeth following examinations by volunteer dentists. Each year all second graders at participating schools receive oral health instruction. When funding is available, sealants are applied in the schools with approximately 100 students receiving sealants on their teeth each year. In years when funding is not available, students are invited to come to the 9th Street Dental Center to have sealants placed for a nominal fee for those who are uninsured.
Seniors Dental Health Seminar
ACOHS staff provide presentations for seniors and caregivers of seniors on dental health care, addressing issues that are of particular interest to the population. ACOHS co-sponsors a seminar for community members with Samaritan Regional Health System and provides a seminar for caregivers at Brethren Care Village.