This morning, the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation and CURE Network officially kicked off the Mission of Mercy, or “MOM,” at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake on June 8-9. Nearly 1,500 volunteers from throughout Illinois will provide an estimated $1 million in free basic dental, medical and vision care to patients who would not otherwise have access to necessary treatment.
Nearly 1,500 volunteers from throughout Illinois will provide free basic dental, medical and vision care to needy patients. They include 223 general dentists, 24 pediatric dentists, 24 oral surgeons, 13 endodontists, 10 orthodontists, 95 dental hygienists, 250-plus dental assistants, 104 dental students, 14 physicians, 60 RN/LPN/CNA’s, 19 vision professionals, and a large group of lay volunteers.
Volunteer clinicians are prepared to see 1,000 patients per day, but hope to accommodate more. Dental volunteers will use 100 portable dental units to provide free basic dental care and oral surgery to patients who would not otherwise have access to necessary dental treatment. However, not all dental services are provided, and dental problems are prioritized with the most critical being treated. No false teeth will be made, but limited partials will be made in the lab.
Basic medical screenings include high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and women’s health, including breast exams and PAP smears. Vision professionals will conduct eye exams and screen for glaucoma and macular degeneration. Prescription eyeglasses will be made on site.
Monetary and in-kind donations from more than 130 organizations, businesses, dental and medical supply companies, and individuals have been provided to offset the costs of equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food costs for this huge access to care event. A list of our generous donors is available on the ISDS Foundation website.
The Mission of Mercy calls attention to the serious problems that Illinois citizens have in accessing dental and medical care. The event will relieve some suffering, but it won’t solve the problem. Only the Illinois Legislature can provide the solution through adequately funding the Medicaid program in Illinois, which was drastically cut in the 2013 state budget.
“More than 2.6 million Illinoisans are enrolled in state-sponsored health insurance. Two-thirds of those enrolled in government-sponsored health care are children. While Illinois has experienced a steady increase in public aid enrollment, funding for the most critical procedures have not increased in more than 30 years,” noted ISDS President Dr. Robert Bitter of Skokie.
He adds that, “Medicaid’
The Mission of Mercy media kit and other information are available by clicking on the home page “Mission of Mercy” graphic at www.ISDS.org.