The health department has been very successful in meeting these
needs, as they have a solid network system that engages other area
health care providers, primarily under the umbrella of the Healthy
Communities Partnership. To address the oral disease issues, local
agencies and providers devised a two-stage plan. The first phase
would get oral care for kids. Next, the adult population would be
To start, the director of the Healthy Communities
Partnership, Kristi Lessen, recognized that the vehicle used for the
mobile health care unit that travels throughout the county was in
need of replacement. Lessen researched and found that a new vehicle
could be outfitted to provide basic dental care and there could even
be grant funding for the advancement.
The Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation, led by Marty Ahrends,
spearheaded the local effort to raise additional matching funds for
In November 2006, the Healthcare, Oral Health, Prevention and
Education Mobile was launched. The mobile health care unit expanded
its general preventive health care to include cleaning, sealants,
fluoride treatment, X-rays and early cavity treatment for children
through age 20.
During the H.O.P.E. Mobile dedication in November 2006, Dr. Julio
Morales said that in Logan County 41 percent of children between the
ages of 2 and 11 have decay in their baby teeth and 90 percent of
youth to19 years of age have tooth decay in their permanent teeth.
These statistics and more prompted Dr. Morales and Dr. Lee Gurga to
volunteer their services on the H.O.P.E. Mobile.
A dental hygienist is employed to provide services on the mobile
Today, the health department is moving full steam ahead on phase
two of the plan, which is to open a dental clinic in the health
department building to also serve adults. It will offer preventive
services, exams, treatments, and limited cavity and restorative oral
health care. The services would be made available for people in
Medicaid and All Kids programs. It would also offer services to
others, with payments on a sliding scale.
Additionally, the clinic would be open to out-of-county clients
in need of services. Transportation would need to be worked out,
Hilliard said that in their decision-making process they talked
with other dentists and clinics about what works best. The synopsis
is that three exam rooms would keep the patients moving and would
break even in operational costs. The health department currently has
eight exam rooms; three of these will be refitted for the dental
The total cost to build the rooms, equip and staff them in the
startup is anticipated to be $353,891. Each room remodel is
estimated at $60,000.
In early June the health department submitted a request to
Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation for $293,068. Hilliard
said that he anticipates hearing back about the grant by the end of
October, and if approved, they would receive the funds in November.
The health department has budgeted $60,823 for its portion of the
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Remodeling would take two months, and the clinic could be ready
to open by the beginning of next year. The dental clinic could be
breaking even at the start of year two, Hilliard said.
The health department recently received a $10,000 grant from
Delta Dental of Illinois. Of that, $8,500 is now helping local
residents with toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and education
materials being distributed through the food pantry, and $1,500 has
been allocated for dental hygienist time.
To access the October H.O.P.E. Mobile schedule and get contact
click here, or call 217-735-2317 for a dental appointment for a
[To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for
the PDF file, click
[By JAN YOUNGQUIST]
The Logan County Department of
Public Health provides health education, information, home
health care and public health services to the Logan County area. Its
programs include asthma partnership, diabetes, environmental health,
food inspections, family caregiver resources, family health, DCFS
Health Works, H.O.P.E. Mobile medical unit, Illinois Breast and
Cervical Cancer Program, nursing services, emergency preparedness,
Pandemic Influenza Community Coalition, WIC, and teen parent
The Healthy Communities
Partnership serves Logan County. The partnership's mission is
"to improve the health and quality of life of the people and
communities we serve." Its vision: "to create the healthiest
community in America."
The Healthy Communities Partnership
was organized under the auspices of the chamber of commerce.
Founding members in the partnership include Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Hospital, the Logan County Department of Public Health, Logan-Mason
Mental Health, Family Medical Center and the Lincoln/Logan County
Chamber of Commerce. Since its founding, the partnership has
expanded to include 54 organizations and 14 churches.
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