County Takes Step to Create Dental Clinic

Plans to create a dental clinic for low-income residents of Washtenaw County received initial approval at the Feb. 5, 2014 meeting of the county board of commissioners. The vote was 7-1, with dissent from Dan Smith (R-District 2). Alicia Ping (R-District 3) was absent.

The project is estimated to cost $1.5 million, using funds from the public health Medicaid liability account ($814,786), the public health fund balance ($663,015) and Washtenaw Health Plan ($50,000). According to the county’s public health staff, 58,000 county residents either don’t have dental insurance or on Medicaid dental insurance. However, only a few private dentists accept Medicaid. When up and running, the dental clinic is expected to serve 6,000 patients annually, including residents with income at up to 200% of the poverty level.

It’s expected that federal matching funds would supplement Medicaid reimbursement rates to provide a sustainable long-term cash flow, according to a staff memo. [.pdf of staff memo]

If give final approval, the resolution authorizes contract negotiations with the nonprofit Michigan Community Dental Clinics Inc. to run the clinic and with St. Joseph Mercy Health System, which would contribute space at its Haab Building in Ypsilanti at little to no cost.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]