Clinics in our Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Alliance are designed to respond to the changing needs of their communities. HealthLink Dental Clinic in Southhampton, Pennsylvania is an excellent example. HealthLink opened in 2001, “bridging the gap” between those who qualified for Medical Assistance and those who could afford health care coverage. By 2015, the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of Medicaid, and the existence of two other free clinics in their county meant fewer patients needed their medical services. However, there was still a huge need for dental care.
HealthLink made a decision to focus on dental care only. A partnership with Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry began in March 2016. HealthLink patients gained access to root canals on-site at no out-of-pocket cost. The next step was to provide crowns to protect the dental work.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the partnership with the Kornberg School of Dentistry and what it has meant for our patients,” says Bernie Dishler, DDS, Board President and volunteer at HealthLink. “We’ve expanded the on-site services available, and this means that we have been able to continue to evolve with the changing healthcare landscape and the needs of our community.”
In 2016, HealthLink Dental Clinic delivered over $720,000 in dental care to low-income adults at no cost to the patient. About 1800 adults visited the clinic for more than 2600 appointments. Services included cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals and crowns.
Over the last 15 years, this free clinic has remained committed to providing quality, compassionate care to neighbors in need. HealthLink Dental Clinic is not part of a large hospital system, nor is it funded by the government. Donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals make it possible to continue operations. With the help of a small staff, local dentists volunteer their time to the charity and its mission.