Safety Net Dental Clinics
Safety net dental clinics strive to provide oral health care to individuals and their families regardless of their ability to pay. While clinics are not by choice a substitute for private dental offices caring for vulnerable populations, they serve as access points for many individuals. The mission of safety net dental clinics, which are usually located in communities where people with low incomes live, is to provide care to vulnerable populations.
Who do safety net dental clinics serve?
As part of their mission, safety net clinics generally serve individuals enrolled in Medicaid, those without adequate dental insurance, or those who lack the cultural, mental or linguistic skills necessary to negotiate the traditional health care system.
Who operates safety net dental clinics?
Most safety net clinics are operated by public agencies, including public hospitals and health systems; health care districts; or private, nonprofit corporations. The composition and functioning of the dental care safety net varies from one county or community to another. Ohio’s largest safety net clinics tend to be in dental schools or hospitals, where Medicaid is accepted but sliding fee schedules are rare. Reduced fees and payment plans, if available at all, tend to be handled on a case-by-case basis at these clinics. The biggest group of non institutionally based clinics tend to be federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and FQHC “look-alikes.” Non institutionally based clinics are more likely to offer sliding fee schedules or reduced fees based on family income.
What types of clinics are there?
Has Ohio’s dental care safety net of clinics been growing?
The number of Ohio safety net dental clinics grew from 88 in 1999 (82% were comprehensive) to 122 in 2008, and to 143 (85% comprehensive) in 2015. In addition, several clinics expanded capacity between 1999 and 2015. Much of the support for this growth came through grants from the Ohio Department of Health and some Ohio charitable foundations.
How can I find safety net dental clinics in Ohio?
Use the searchable clinic database online, or click on the pie chart image above to view pie charts showing the distribution of safety net dental clinics in Ohio.
This website is meant to support safety net dental clinics in their service to the public. This brochure lists those clinics in Ohio.