More children are visiting non-profit dental clinic
A Nonprofit dental clinic in Moore County treats a growing number of impoverished children. According to the latest figures available, the number of Moore County Children using Medicaid to pay for dental services in the 2007 fiscal year was 3,440. That grew to 4,140 in Fiscal 2010. Three clinics, operated by Pinehurst-Based Firsthealth Of The Carolinas, treat children whose parents are too poor to afford private insurance or otherwise pay for dental care. One clinic is in Southern Pines. The others are in neighboring Hoke and Montgomery Counties. Most of the children are on Medicaid, the government health-care program for poor families. And recently , some payments have been reduced. It’s a challenge ot make up the difference, says Dental Health Services Director Sharon Nicholson Harrell, herself a dentist. Although fundraisers and cost-cutting have helped, says Doctor Harrell, the hospital system wants to establish an endowment ot enable the Firsthealth clinics to ride out dips in income. The three clinics treat only children 18 and younger. The Firsthealth Clinics are appreciated by parents such as Tarnise Harrison. “It saves gas and it saves time,” says Harrison, whose teenage daughters use the Southern Pines Clinics. “I can get back to work sooner because it’s local. And the girls like to come here because everyone’s friendly and nice.” Private insurance offered by her employer costs $160.00 a month, more than she can afford. Harrison pays for her own dental care. The Firsthealth Clinics operate six days a week in Southern Pines, three days a week in Troy and tow days a week in Raeford.