Rural Health Network of Monroe County, FL, Inc. will celebrate the grand opening of the RHN Dental Clinic in Tavernier, FL on Jan. 20, 2011 from 11am – 1pm. Partially funded by an equipment grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida, the clinic has two dental offices providing general dentistry and hygienist services to the underinsured and uninsured in the Islamorada, Tavernier and Key Largo area.
Over the years RHNMC has received funding and support for its mission from such agencies and organizations as the:
• Federal Government, for homeless and indigent care – HUD Grants
• Federal Government for primary care outreach and dental care – HHS Outreach Grants
• State of Florida, Department of Health for primary and dental care services
• County of Monroe, Board of County Commissioners – Line Item Funding for primary and dental care services
• County of Monroe, Human Services Advisory Board for dental care for children
• City of Marathon and City Islamorada
• Monroe County School District
• Monroe County Sheriff’s Department – SAFF Funds
• Patient out-of-pocket “fair share” payments
• Health Foundation of South Florida – Funding for primary and dental care services
More than 95 percent of Rural Health Network patients are between 100-200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (Between $10,830 – $21,660 per year).
RHNMC’s Governing Board consists of officers from all three hospitals, a member of the Board of County Commissioners (Sylvia Murphy), the Monroe County Health Department, members of other healthcare agencies and clinic consumers (patients).
Rural Health Network has additional locations in Key West and Marathon with the Tavernier clinic being the final link in the chain that supports the dental needs of patients stretching the length of the Florida Keys. All clinics provide Affordable Dental Services with referrals being provided to other community dentists for oral surgery, implants and other specialty requirements. All clinics use the latest in digital x-ray sensors and charting software allowing the dentist and hygienist to provide a comprehensive dental and preventative plan to each patient.
While not “free clinics”, Rural Health Network works with each patient individually to provide services based on their need and ability to pay. A sliding fee scale based on the current Federal Government Poverty Guidelines is used to determine the fee for each procedure the patient’s financial history provided by each patient annually. As a 501c3 Non-Profit Rural Health Network under the 1993 Florida statute FS 381.0406, Rural Health Network of Monroe County, FL, Inc. uses its mandate to make health care affordable and accessible to Florida Keys residents and visitors, and to work on county and state healthcare policies and issues.
In 2009, Rural Health Network was awarded a federal grant to provide dental sealants to Monroe County School children in the 2nd and 7th grades during the school year. First year results saw Rural Health Network seeing more than 50% of all eligible 2nd and 7th graders in Monroe County schools.
Based on historic CDC data, the cost of each cavity averted amounted to approximately $290 per tooth sealed. Rural Health Network is currently in year two of the 3-year grant and anticipates continuing the dental sealant program after the current funding expires at the middle of 2012. To broaden the availability of dental sealants to all Monroe County schoolchildren, Rural Health Network currently provides free dental assessments and dental sealants in all clinics.
Special appreciation and recognition goes to the Health Foundation of South Florida for a $60,000 grant for equipment that will allows RHNMC to provide services to the Tavernier, Islamorada and Key Largo areas. Two dental operatories complete with the latest digital x-ray sensors and a small dental lab, will allow RHNMC to efficiently provide affordable dental services to the Upper Keys Communities.
1 Currently the 2010 Poverty Guidelines for all States (Except Alaska and Hawaii) and D.C.
2 Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA – States reporting on Dental Sealant Programs