Effingham Catholic Charities and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital have a dental voucher program available for adults 18 years and older who are underinsured or uninsured and in need of an emergent tooth extraction. Residents of Effingham, Jasper, Cumberland, Fayette, Clay and Shelby counties are eligible for the program.
Through the program, a patient is initially referred to Catholic Charities by a physician, dentist, or by self-referral. Catholic Charities works with the patient to verify program eligibility prior to a dental voucher being issued. The dental voucher covers expenses related to an initial exam and x-ray by a dentist, followed by a tooth extraction if necessary. Each patient allowed two dental exams, for evaluation of tooth pain, and one tooth extraction each year.
This program was developed as a result of the community health needs assessment St. Anthony’s conducted in 2011 in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Effingham County and Jasper Steering Committee. After evaluating and prioritizing the survey results, the Alliance identified access to health care services as one of the top identified needs. Survey results related to oral health and access to dental care indicated 27% of Effingham County respondents had not visited a dentist within the past year. Those at lower income levels were less likely to report having seen a dentist in the last year.
This program, which began in 2014, facilitates access to the appropriate care for those needing an emergent tooth extraction. Those qualifying for the program will also find relief from the burden of paying for emergency, dental and oral surgery services when they cannot afford to do so.
To find out more about the dental voucher program, contact Catholic Charities at 217-857-1458. For more information about St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, visit St. Anthony’s web site at stanthonyshospital.org.