The Chippewa Valley Post provides news of area nonprofit organizations in order to increase public awareness of their missions and activities, and to provide information that otherwise might not be made available.
Our “6 of Substance” series is part of this effort. It will present answers from nonprofit organizations, in their own words, to six questions we asked about who they are and what they do. The responses will be edited only for length, grammar and style concerns.
This series will be updated regularly to introduce Chippewa Valley residents to the many nonprofit organizations and people working to serve the needs of our area. If you have a favorite nonprofit organization that you’d like to see featured here, please let us know at email@example.com
Chippewa Valley Technical College Dental Clinic
Who do you serve?
We serve low income patients who qualify under federal guidelines and those who have Badger Care, all of whom are unable to afford dental care through the private sector. We are also a dental school, and we need patients so our students can “learn by doing.” In the process of education, we provide high-quality, low cost care for underserved patients in our community. In most dental hygiene schools, when the clinic is not being used by students, the chairs sit empty. At CVTC the clinic is used to its full capacity five days a week by students and paid clinical staff who use the space to provide care to more patients. We serve approximately 24 counties and patients travel as much as three hours one way for care. Last year the CVTC Dental Clinic received almost 9,000 patient visits.
How long have you been established in the Chippewa Valley?
We started in Eau Claire in 1994 as part of a shared dental hygiene program and then moved to Menomonie, where we began a Rural Health Dental Clinic that provided care for children and their families, in partnership with CESA 11.
We moved to the Eau Claire Campus in 2004 when the new Health Education Center was built. During this time, we also partnered with Marquette University’s School of Dentistry for a Rural Outreach rotation.
What are the major issues you will be facing over the next 18 months?
Funding continues to be an issue as we rely on the low reimbursement rates from Badger Care (about 35 cents on the dollar). Badger Care rules also limit procedures we can bill for and when these can be billed. This reimbursement rate does not cover some costs associated with providing care, so we depend on grant funding from both private and state sources to help us continue to provide dental services to the underserved.
Aside from financial support, how can the Chippewa Valley Community support you?
Helping us find transportation services for clients who lack transportation; translators for Spanish speaking patients; patient advocates to help them navigate the medical-dental system and sign up for benefit programs that they may not be aware of; and volunteers to help us educate patients that they are responsible for keeping appointments.
Who are some of the key people in your organization?
Pam Entorf, program director of Dental Hygiene and Assisting, has been with the program and the clinic since the start. She was involved in the first dental clinic start-up within the CVTC Dental Hygiene program when we were still in Menomonie. She also helped to establish the partnership with the Marquette School of Dentistry and worked with the local dental community to garner support of the project.
Dr. Shelly Olson, dean of Health and Emergency Services at CVTC, is an avid supporter of the clinic and the program. She has been very open to new ideas and supports the dental clinic’s volunteer outreach efforts in the community.
What is the most important thing about your organization that people should know, but don’t?
We are a full service dental clinic under the direct supervision of licensed dental professionals and located within CVTC’s dental hygiene and dental assisting programs. We accept Badger Care (Forward Health), but no private insurance. We provide care to patients who cannot afford treatment at private dental offices that generally don’t accept Badger Care.
We are the only technical college with a dental school partnership. We also have a one-year fellowship for a new Marquette graduate. The dental clinic also works with other programs within the Health Education Center to incorporate interdisciplinary education for patient care, which benefits both the patients and the students in those programs. UW Family Medicine is located in the same building and its medical residents have participated in “Give Kids a Smile Day” by doing the health screenings for the children prior to dental treatment.
— by Pam Entorf, Program Director
If you would like more information about the CVTC Dental Clinic, visit www.cvtc.edu.
To download a copy of the “6 of Substance” questionnaire, click here.
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