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July 23, 2014

When the Virginia Department of Health cut its dental program a few years ago, the Franklin County Health Department teamed with the Free Clinic of Franklin County to continue providing basic dental extractions for needy patients at the Health Department.  This month, the Health Department gave us their dental operatory and tools to provide extractions at our new building in Schewel’s Plaza in Rocky Mount, but is no longer able to help with staffing due to further state budget cuts. 

We currently need several volunteer Dentists and Dental Assistants to provide medically-necessary extraction services for very low-income uninsured adults in our county.

Our mission is to keep our community healthy and in the workforce, regardless of ability to pay. The Free Clinic is the only primary care clinic serving local adults who cannot afford insurance or self-pay care.  Our clinic is a local charity which operates on community donations and volunteer professionals. We do not receive government reimbursements. 

Many of our patients have multiple dental caries.  If/when they have an abscess, we can only treat the patient with antibiotics, providing temporary relief. Extractions are needed to stabilize the patient’s overall health and avoid future toothaches.  At present, our extraction waiting list is about 8 months long and cannot progress unless we have a supply of dentists and assistants.  We are not aware of any dental charities who accept Franklin County residents, leaving our rural poor with no options for a permanent solution. 

We sincerely hope you will consider this opportunity to help the less fortunate in our community, even if you can only volunteer ½ day once or twice per year.  We can be flexible on days and times, especially for dentist/assistant teams. Licensed volunteers are covered under our Virginia Risk malpractice insurance.  Virginia income tax credits are available for dentists who volunteer several times per year.  We will handle patient applications, scheduling, and consumables. 

If you do not have time to volunteer at our facility, we would be grateful if you could take an emergency pro bono referral occasionally at your convenience. 

Please call me with any questions (540) 489-7500 ext 405 and/or if you are ready to volunteer.  If I do not hear from you, I will follow up next week.  I am willing to visit your office, or have you visit our facility anytime. 

Thank you for your kindness,

Ellen Holland