A new partnership between the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona and Chiricahua Community Health Centers will help provide dental services to children in Cochise County.
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a specially designed van, is launching this month to bring dental care to children who have limited or no access to a dentist, especially in rural areas of the county.
There are 49 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles operating in 10 countries and regions, but this is the first one in Arizona.
“Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of children and their families,” said Kate Jensen, Ronald McDonald House Charities president and CEO.
Recent studies show that about 30 percent of kindergarteners in Cochise County are not receiving dental care, according to a news release about the new mobile van. Also, Cochise County has a shortage of dentists.
Chiricahua Community Health had a mobile dental clinic for about 10 years, but it became unusable. The health centers and Ronald McDonald House Charities teamed up to put the new mobile van into operation.
The 45-foot Care Mobile will travel a route from Douglas to Willcox to offer dental care to children and teens.
It will also offer dental services at Chiricahua Community Health clinics in Douglas, Bisbee, Benson, Elfrida and Sierra Vista.
Services provided include check-ups, X-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, filling, extractions, cleaning and crowns.
Chiricahua Community Health has a sliding fee schedule, and no patient is turned away for lack of ability to pay.
The Chicago headquarters of Ronald McDonald House Charities funded the $552,000 van, and the health center will operate it.
Chiricahua Community Health Centers is a federally qualified health center that operates medical and dental clinics in Cochise County. It has five mobile clinics that travel throughout the county delivering medical and dental care.
To celebrate the start of the new mobile dental clinic, there will be a public event to show off the van from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the Ronald McDonald House, 2155 E. Allen Road in Tucson.