Free dental event could get $30,000 boost
ELKHORN Badger High School in Lake Geneva was chosen as the Wisconsin Dental Association’s site for the 2013 Mission of Mercy program.
The fundraising goal is $120,000 to $150,000, and the Walworth County Health & Human Services Department wants to do its part to make the clinic, which is scheduled June 28 and June 29, a success.
The HHS board has requested the authorization to make a one-time donation of $30,000 to support those efforts. The Walworth County Board’s Finance Committee was scheduled to vote on the ordinance Thursday, and the measure needs majority approval at the final county board budget meeting Nov. 13.
The department made the request because access to free or low/cost dental services has been identified as one of four priorities in the Walworth County Community Health Improvement Plan. And HHS said the funds are available from its inpatient services account, where it is projecting a surplus in the neighborhood of $130,000 from its 2012 operating budget.
That means people such as Dr. Robert Dillman and potentially several hundred of his fellow professionals will participate in the Mission of Mercy event. Dillman has been a dentist in the area since 1987 and put together Walworth County’s application to host the clinic.
This year’s program in Madison featured more than 1,800 volunteers, including nearly 400 dentists, who provided $1.75 million in donated dental care to about 3,600 patients.
The dental association estimates that every dollar in donations turns into $6 to $8 of care.
Mission of Mercy’s goals are threefold:
-- To provide free, critical dental care with a high priority on treating patients in pain and with infections.
-- To raise awareness about the barriers that low-income adults and children face in obtaining dental care.
-- To challenge patients, policymakers and dental professionals to work together to make viable and bipartisan healthy choices that will improve Wisconsin residents’ oral health.