The support and input from our amazing partners in the health and human services field is instrumental to the success of NCCARE360 in North Carolina. Today, we are sitting down with Angie Sloate and Stacie Saunders at Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic to discuss their achievements, experience with the network, and vision for the future.
How would you summarize Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic’s work and your role in particular? What populations does Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic serve?
Angie: I am a Patient Account Representative in the front office. We are a public health agency that provides dental care for the citizens of Alamance and Caswell Counties. We see children ages 0-21. We serve those with Medicaid, private insurance, and the uninsured.
Stacie: Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic provides a dental home for children in our community. They provide services that you might find any pediatric dental office. Being a public health dental clinic, we also provide a great deal of health education and work to identify unmet dental needs in our community through various partnerships.
Currently, what’re your biggest challenges at Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic? How do you deal with them?
Angie: We are always trying to reach the children in our community, especially the ones that may not be able to afford dental care. We want to educate and promote preventative dental care. We are on a limited budget, therefore, we are not able to advertise our services as much as we would like. To alleviate this, we try to go out to community events and back-to-school fairs in order to promote and educate people about our clinic and the services we provide.
Stacie: There are everyday challenges that any medical clinic deals with, like folks not being able to make their appointments. These daily challenges are sometimes indicative of more deeply rooted drivers of health like limited transportation or inability for a caregiver to leave work. Currently, the dental clinic has a planning grant that is allowing us to work with our school system partners to provide basic dental care at school.
What accomplishments are your team most proud of?
Stacie: The Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic is fully sustaining, meaning it receives no local tax dollars for its operation. This is almost unheard of in public health clinical care and really is a testament to our staff’s dedication to seeing patients. It also speaks to the quality of care that our patients receive, that they continue to trust us with their care.
How has NCCARE360 impacted the way you deliver care? What has surprised you?
Angie: With NCCARE360, we are able to reach children at a younger age. In turn, we are able to educate parents on how to take care of their children’s teeth, and possibly prevent any decay/cavities from happening at such a young age.
Stacie: I have been surprised at the increased level of communication and referral between our Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and our dental clinic. Not having to make a call or leave it up to the client to make the call has really improved the referral system between WIC and Dental.
What was it like for your organization before working with NCCARE360? And afterward?
Angie: Before NCCARE360, the WIC/Health Departments would hand out brochures to clients and they may or may not have called us to schedule an appointment. NCCARE360 allows us to reach children that we were not able to reach before by automating the referral process and contact information.
Stacie: NCCARE360 allows our staff to make real time referrals for a patient, and within a few hours we have a feedback loop closed.
Based on your experiences so far, how do you see NCCARE360 impacting the standard of care in North Carolina?
Angie: I feel that NCCARE360 will change the way we do health care if all the community agencies participate.
Stacie: I am most excited about what we will learn about our local resource networks as a result of NCCARE360. Being able to look at data a year from now and see where they are going, what we are still missing, and what we do well, will help us learn how to build on our strengths and fix any problems we’re having.
What advice would you give to an organization interested in joining NCCARE360?
Angie: If you truly want to help your clients, using NCCARE360 opens up a world of opportunities for them. It helps you get to know more about each client. You can sometimes find out that when a patient needs help in one part of their life (be it a job, housing, or transportation) it may be affecting another aspect of their life (such as education, health, etc.).
Stacie: Contact the Community Success Team! They can help you identify the potential of the platform for your agency. They really do spend time with you thinking through the workflow so you can be as successful as possible and better serve your clients.
What’s next for Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic?
Stacie: School-based dental care. In addition to the planning grant, the dental clinic received an implementation grant to provide basic dental care in local schools. We hope that we see an impact on the dental health of those we serve and also align our goals to those of the school, like reducing absenteeism.
We hoped you enjoyed our NCCARE360 partner spotlight interview. Get inspired by Alamance County Children’s Dental Clinic and learn more about their work at www.alamance-nc.com/health/clinics/childrens-dental-health-clinic. If you would like to contact our Community Success Team please fill out the form located here.