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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Low-cost dental clinic opens in Annandale

A new dental clinic is housed in the Annandale Doctors Building. 
A new clinic opened in Annandale in January offering low-cost dental care to lower-income children and adults.

The clinic, at 7501 Little River Turnpike at Medford Drive, offers basic dental services, including teeth cleaning, fillings, x-rays, and extractions – but not more complicated procedures such as root canals, dentures, or implants.

“Demand has been significant since we opened,” said Basim Khan, director of Neighborhood Health, which operates the clinic. “Dental care is something a lot of people don’t have access to.”

If the dental clinic in Annandale is successful, Khan would like to eventually expand it to include other medical services.

Neighborhood Health, a partner with the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, runs 10 clinics – in Fairfax County, Alexandria, and Arlington – providing primary medical care, pediatric care, immunizations, labs, and mental health services, and helps eligible patients obtain medications at a lower cost than regular pharmacies.

Neighborhood Health also provides a dentist for the Wow Bus, a van operated by Alexandria City Public Schools to bring health services to elementary schools.

The clinics are open to everyone and accept Medicare, Medicaid. Obamacare, and private insurance plans.

About half the clients who use the clinics don’t have insurance at all, Khan says. Their payments are set on a sliding scale based on income. A family with a household income between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level would pay just $55 for a dental visit for an adult and $28 for a child. People with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty level pay even less.

Medical appointments are $13 to $56, depending on income, for people with incomes up to 200 percent of the poverty level.

Patients with health insurance are billed the same as if they were treated at any other medical facility. Lower-income clients with high deductibles or co-pays could quality for a discount.

Neighborhood Health is one of 1,375 community-based primary healthcare centers in the United States – and the only one serving Fairfax County – that receive funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. Neighborhood Health also gets some funding from patients’ insurance companies, private healthcare foundations, corporations, and individual donors.  

Efforts by Congress to repeal Obamacare or cut other federal health programs would have an impact on community health services like Neighborhood Health. “If people have less insurance,” Khan says, “the demands on us will go up.”

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