For twenty years, Judy Goldetsky managed the Minnesota-based medical staffing company, On Call Clinicians, which she also founded. It was through her work there that she began to see that long-term care facilities struggled to provide adequate dental care for their elderly, poor or disabled patients. Many of these patients relied on state programs for their medical care; programs which rarely cover dental care.
Goldetsky knows that oral health is often considered a window into one’s overall health. And so, in 2005, she started Doorstep Health Services (DHS), an organization that provides comprehensive oral healthcare services to residents of long-term and assisted care facilities in the Twin Cities.
The DHS clinic is mobile; every week day, they set up a working dental office on a rotational basis, in a local nursing home or long-term care facility. A dentist and an assistant provide services to those who are unable to travel due to poor health, dementia, physical handicap or mental instability. The clinic sees about 125 patients and more than 6,000 patients a year.
In 2010, Goldetsky expanded DHS to include a fixed site clinic that sees patients based on a sliding-scale—where the clinic fees vary according to ability to pay.
Says Goldetsky of what this work means to her, ““This has been a large, challenging, and extremely gratifying part of my life… 95 percent of the patients we serve would otherwise go without care.”
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