La Clinica and Providence Medford Medical Center have teamed up to improve the way dental care is delivered and get patients with toothaches out of emergency rooms and into dental chairs.
Providence Medford Medical Center is donating $20,000 to La Clinica's capital campaign for its new 34-chair East Medford Dental Clinic.
La Clinica will set aside time each day to treat dental emergencies at the clinic, which opened last year at 1113 Progress Drive.
Patients with urgent dental care needs will receive a referral card when they visit the Providence Medford Emergency Department. La Clinica will see patients with dental emergencies within 48 hours of a call, Cherie Keesee, a La Clinica dental coordinator, said in a news release about the new partnership.
Poor dental health is the second highest reason for emergency department visits in the U.S., according to Pew Center research.
Each year nearly one million patients seek treatment at emergency departments for dental health problems at a cost that is 10 times as much as preventive care from a dentist. In 2012, more than 750 people visited the Providence Medford Emergency Department for dental issues, hospital records show. Of those, approximately 80 percent were uninsured.
La Clinica is working to wrap up its capital campaign by June for the $4.4 million clinic, and so far has collected about $4.3 million.