Samaritan Homeless Clinic
Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) opened the doors of its Samaritan Homeless Clinic in 1992 in hopes of reducing the common connection between homelessness and poor personal health. GHS long recognized that homeless people rarely receive the health care they need. With a $50,000 grant from an anonymous donor, the hospital started the Samaritan Homeless Clinic in partnership with the Montgomery County Combined Health Department and a local company, the Standard Register. Developed with the concept of caring for the whole person, the Samaritan Homeless Clinic provides “complete package” health care that includes health and wellness services—medical, dental, podiatry, and vision. The clinic also provides psychiatric, mental health, and chemical dependency counseling; social work; recuperative care; health education programming; and life skills classes for their patients. With this wide range of services the clinic focuses both on the individual and the community to maintain strong relationships with other homeless service providers so patients don’t get lost in the system. Their goal is to benefit the entire community while treating every patient who walks through our doors with dignity, respect, integrity, compassion, and excellence.
During the Needs Assessment data gathering of 1991, shelter and social service providers made clear that no part of the body could be left out and that dental need was significant and a common source of considerable pain in the homeless community. But, when faced with the choice to maintain total facility operations, medical and social work services were established first. However, within weeks of opening a man came in for medical care with an extremely infected mouth. Staff elicited his story and found that he had visited one of the “operatories” in his neighborhood. It seems that an unlicensed “dentist” was practicing dentistry in his home; his patients were seated in a recliner aided with his dental instruments purchased from the local hardware store. Needless to say, this speeded up the establishment of a one dental chair clinic with a part-time dentist.
The Samaritan Homeless Clinic has recently experienced a facility makeover with the assistance of federal stimulus funding. The dental program expanded to four clinical operatories equipped with the newest technology, including digital radiography. Dr. Geneva Walker works 20 hours a week aided by a dental hygienist and a newly credentialed Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary (EFDA). The clinic provides some preventive services, basic dental restorations and extractions, and most important for this population, oral cancer screenings. The dental need is very great, but time and experience has proved that keeping a waiting list for treatment for the homeless is not productive. The clinic turns some patients away and treats those with the most pressing dental need on clinics days.
The Samaritan Homeless Clinic dental program is located within the larger clinic at 921 S Edwin C. Moses Boulevard, Dayton OH 45417, phone 937-461-1376. Hours of operation are Monday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday 7:30 am to 11:30 am, and Thursday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. The clinic is credentialed for Medicaid and all the Medicaid Managed Care agencies operating within Montgomery County, as well as with Medicare. They operate on a sliding fee schedule that slides to 0% for those meeting the federal poverty guidelines.
For more information, visit the Samaritan Homeless Clinic online.
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