Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big drop in donations threatens mobile dental clinics in rural Northwest

Throughout Oregon and parts of Washington, poor rural residents get free dental care in four vans provided by Medical Teams International's larger mission to provide free care in areas that need it across the globe. But the Christian organization's donations are down -- December saw a 30 percent drop -- and their mobile clinics are in danger of being pulled off the road, reports Sheila Hagar in an article for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

MTI is no longer able to subsidize the full cost of the vans, "Rural areas have fewer organizations to approach for financial help, and many of the sites that host the dental van have not been accustomed to paying a supportive 'site fee,' as a way of partnering the effort," Hagar writes. MTI's Steve Vickers told her, “If we gave everyone a bill (for services), it comes to $5.8 million a year. But it costs us $1.2 million to deliver that care. If they give us a dollar, we turn it into $5 of dental care.” (Read more)

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