Friday, March 8 2013, 09:59 PM CST
La Clinica and Providence have partnered up
By Jessica De Nova/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore.-Providence Medford Medical Center has partnered up with La Clinica to make sure people get the dental care they need at a low cost and the emergency department has open beds for true emergencies.
The hospital said in 2012, it saw over 750 patients for dental issues.
La Clinica's East Medford Dental Clinic at 1113 Progress Drive has had half of its facility open to patients for a year now.
The $4.4 million project is only $130,000 away from being paid off.
Providence donated $20,000 in March to the dental clinic. In turn, the clinic will take Providence's non-emergent dental patients. "Under the new partnership, people who go to the Providence emergency room, uh, will, if they need a follow-up visit, they will get a card saying you can go to La Clinica and get this taken care of," said La Clinica's Communications Director, Julie Wurth.
Providence said about 80% of people that it sees with dental problems, are uninsured.
Emergency Department Physician at Providence, Dr. Douglas Shields, said research from the Pew Center showed dental preventive care is much cheaper than using the emergency department. "The emergency department is upwards of even 10 times or more costly than seeing a dental clinic on an outpatient basis," said Dr. Shields.
He said most of these patients who take up beds for patients with more serious emergencies, don't really need to be in the emergency department. "A far majority of them have non-emergent problems that can be dealt with through a dental clinic or outpatient setting," said Dr. Shields.
La Clinica will work with patients when it comes to paying for services. "We do accept private insurance, we accept Oregon Health Plan, um, for people who are uninsured and you know, don't have a regular dentist, when they come in we would ask them about income and, um, offer them a sliding scale," said Wurth.
Wurth added, "We have created space in our schedule every day, uh, for people who need these follow-up visits to come here and have them here."
La Clinica hopes to wrap up its Capital Campaign to pay off the dental clinic by June of 2013.