Mobile dental clinic running out of money

by Kim Robins - Posted on Feb 09, 2011 - 05:18 PM

The Middle Peninsula Mobile Dental Clinic that has provided dental services to local residents who do not have access to routine dental health services is running out of gas after three years of operation.

The mobile clinic was a collaborative effort by the Three Rivers Health District, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. A $781,824 grant from the Community Foundation in 2008 purchased and helped staff the dental van that visited Middlesex, Mathews, King and Queen, King William and Gloucester counties on a rotating basis.

The mobile clinic provides services such as cleaning, fillings, extractions and x-rays to patients of all ages. Clinic patients are charged fees on a sliding scale based on their income and family size. With its grant funding running out, the mobile clinic may be permanently parked at the end of this month.

"Operationally, it will be out of money at the end of February," said Dr. William R. Nelson, acting director of the Three Rivers Health District. "We’re looking for alternative funding sources. The program may have to stop operating for awhile, but we’re doing everything possible to get it back up and running."

Nelson said Three Rivers still has a dentist on staff, but the dental assistant and dental hygienist that also serve the mobile clinic are departing.

"We are grateful to the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation for bringing this to our area," Nelson said.