Dental Service Cuts Expected in Lincoln
Residents of Lincoln have to wait several days to see a dentist but there is a growing concern among those who manage health care services with regards to the level of service. They said it could decline in the near future.
Lincoln is a town around 80 miles from Helena. There are no other towns in between the two except for Elliston and Avon. There are also no options for dental or medical care. If a person in Lincoln breaks a leg or need dental services, they need to take a trip to Helena.
A federal grant allowed the Cooperative Health Center in Helena to provide dental and medical services in Lincoln since 2007 but a decline in the number of patients going to the CHC clinic and dental offices in Helena produced a deficit of $300,000 and made the CHC to increase the operation hours each week of medical providers.
Dental services amounted to half of the deficit and they also see changes in the hours in Helena. The effects of the lack of dental patients have reached Lincoln. People are concerned that they might lose the level of dental service in Lincoln provided by the CHC. The CHC stated that changes are still uncertain as to how often a dentist will travel to Lincoln.
Residents of Lincoln have petitioned the Lewis and Clark County Commission to allow them to ask property owners to help finance the construction of a new clinic. Seven out of 10 voters were in favor of the proposal.
The town’s clinic is the community’s hub for health care. It has three rooms for patients, a dental office with two chairs, and a room for medical procedure. Emergency services are performed by local volunteers who respond to calls.
At present, a husband and wife team of doctors from Lincoln work part time to care for the community. They are going to leave this summer and the town is looking for a new doctor.
Photo by Anthony Ortiz [Public domain], undefined