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Dental care to be given at school

Children in second and sixth grades in Madison County will be the first to receive dental screenings and dental sealants through the newest program funded through the St. Francois County Health Center. The Center received a grant for the program from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

At the Nov. 29  Health Board meeting, new staff members Carla Vasquez, a dental hygienist and Brenda Kolafa, a dental assistant, were introduced. They will apply dental sealant designed to protect teeth from cavities. Three dentists will provide screenings at the schools. They are Drs. Debra Morgan, Guy Walker and Doug Ross.

“All week long, we’ve been getting the equipment ready for the screenings,” said Sharon Wallace, health center director.

Announcement of the grant for $315,595 was made in August. It will be distributed for four years, paying for portable dental equipment, supplies and the salaries of the part-time dentist, hygienist and dental assistant.

Eligible children will be those on Medicaid or who are uninsured.

Screenings and the application of sealant will require parental permission. While the program is starting in Madison County Friday, in 2008,  students in the public school districts in St. Francois County will be eligible, along with second and sixth graders  in St. Joseph Catholic Schools in Farmington and Bonne Terre and at St. Paul Lutheran School.

Wallace said the grant should help 1,913 students a year.

While the Foundation for Health money does not go to the Dental Clinic at the Health Center, children in St. Francois and Madison Counties may set up appointments to be seen for preventative care at the clinic such as cleaning, fluoride treatment and the application of dental sealant. Appointments may be made by calling 573-431-1947. Care is offered to children 2-19 who are actively participating in Medicaid or the MC-Plus program and appointments may be made from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Meanwhile, a new infectious disease clinic at the health center welcomed its first patients this week. Once each month, Dr. Matt Shoemaker will see clients referred through the Health Center.

“Clients can make appointments by calling the St. Francois County Health Center (573-431-1947) ext. 161 and Kathy Parish will schedule appointments,” explained Paula Klemp, Case Manager for Infectious Disease.  “Most of these clients are already being seen by both myself and Dr. Shoemaker.”

Twelve patients were seen in the clinic’s first day.

In other action, the board received its first draft of the 2008 budget for the health center.

Donna Hickman is a reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact her at 431-2010, ext. 138 or at


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