A new free dental clinic is planned to be opened in Rancho Mirage by an advocacy group for the developmentally disabled. The clinic will provide free dental care for people who are not being offered coverage anymore through their insurance.
The dental clinic is planned to be opened around the month of July; currently the Desert Friends of the Developmentally Disabled is negotiating the lease of an office that is located along Highway 111. Founder of the organization Marianne Benson states that a great number of the population needs their services, and they will do their best to help them.
Currently, in Riverside and San Bernardino counties there are 25,225 people living with a developmental disability. Out of these, almost 1,500 are from Coachella Valley alone.
These developmental disabilities present themselves through varied health conditions, such as cerebral palsy, retardation, autism or epilepsy.
The program called “We Care Dental” shifts its focus to people with developmental disabilities who have no dental insurance. In the state of California, two years ago the Medi-Cal coverage for different dental services has been cut for people who are older than 21, including these people living with developmental disabilities.
According to Marianne Benson, these people haven’t got anywhere to go if a dental health emergency arises. For her the problem is also important from a personal point of view, since her own son is struggling with a developmental disability.
After these cuts, Benson became personally involved, and the organization started to provide free dental services around the country, in temporary set up offices. This was possible of course with the help of many dentists from local areas, that were ready to make a change in the lives of these people, and who were offering their services pro bono.
Dr. Melvin Glick, who is a retired dentist, says that the program was very efficient; however it is quite difficult to work with developmentally disabled people through temporary set up offices. They would need post treatment visits, and that was not possible because the facilities were only temporary. Therefore, a permanent dental office is the best choice, and this will greatly help people living with different disabilities have access to proper dental care.