Health & Safety

May 31, 2013

Runion Dental Clinic rolls out new initiative

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Gabrielle Kuholski
Staff writer

Spc. Christopher Hamilton, preventative dental specialist, performs a cleaning. Patients can take advantage of the Go First Class program starting tomorrow to combine appointments for exams, cleanings and fillings.

Summer is a time to sink your teeth into corn on the cob, watermelon and barbecued ribs, but starting tomorrow, Runion Dental Clinic staff wants permanent party service member dental patients to also start thinking about dental health. With its “Go First Class” initiative, or GFC, patients will see combined appointments to avoid going back and forth between the dental clinic and their units.

“By combining the appointments, it creates more appointments, so it increases access to care,” Col. Julio Gonzales, dental clinic commander, said.

For example, a dental exam and cleaning will be performed in one visit. Another combination appointment will consist of a dental exam, cleaning and simple fillings.

The goal of GFC is to reduce the number of appointments needed for patients to reach full readiness of “class one” from two or three visits to one visit. “Class one” signifies that a Soldier does not need any dental care until their next annual exam. This is what Runion Dental Clinic staff considers “dental wellness.”

“Class two” means that a cleaning or filling is needed, while “class three” means the Soldier is looking at a potential dental emergency within the next six months and is nondeployable. “Class four” signifies that a Soldier is overdue for an annual exam.

“When we increase the access to care, it allows the patient to come in, and then they’re less likely to become ‘class three,’” Gonzales said.

Since February, Runion Dental Clinic has combined exams and cleanings. According to Gonzales, the combination appointments receive positive comments and boost patient satisfaction. The results show 98 percent readiness and 51 percent wellness.

“That 51 percent is unheard of; we’re the one of highest in the region, and it will likely increase,” Gonzales said.

In June, all exam appointments will go through GFC, with the exception of specific “walk-ins.” Gonzales also stresses that if people cannot keep an appointment, patients must cancel 24 hours prior. This helps all appointment times to remain filled. One failed appointment costs approximately $373, so a missed GFC appointment could cause a $819 loss.

To schedule, call 533.3147/3447.




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