Partnership expands dental options for patients who can’t afford care

Taylor county residents who need dental care, such as a filling or extraction, but can’t afford it can  benefit from a collaboration between Christian Service Center, Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District and the county’s Social Services department.

Funded through a $40,000 grant via Community Foundation of Abilene, the program builds on an existing model for dental care used by the nonprofit center and also serves as something of a replacement for a city dental program that had to shut down due to budget issues.

It also serves to replace services previously offered through Abilene’s Presbyterian Medical Care Mission.

Annette Lerma, director of the Public Health District, said grant dollars will help pay participating dentists a $150 fee to help offset out-of-pocket expenses, an incentive that she and others hope encourages even more to participate.

The program asks those who qualify contribute $20, which will go toward the dentist providing the service.

Jim Clark, Christian Service Center’s executive director, said his organization regularly works with around six or seven dentists that serve “neighbors” — the agency’s preferred term for clients — who need dental services.

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