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Senators: $150K in federal funding to help buy mobile dental clinic in Tioga County

Tioga County’s current mobile dental unit, as seen in this photo, parked at Candor Elementary School. Tioga County has secured grant funding totaling $475,000 to help pay for a new recreational-vehicle style mobile dental unit. It’ll start using the new trailer when it’s delivered either in December or in January 2019. (Photo provided by Tioga County Public Health)

Tioga County will use $150,000 in federal funding to purchase a new mobile dental clinic to replace the current one, “which is at the end of its life.”

The funding was allocated through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) said in a news release.

The Washington, D.C.–based Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic-development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region.

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Besides the federal funding, the New York State Community Development Block Grant program has allocated $300,000 to the project. The Owego–based Floyd Hooker Foundation has also committed $25,000 to the effort for a total of $475,000 for the dental-services project.

Floyd Hooker was a Tioga County resident who won $45 million in the New York State Lottery in 1999 and “helped many organizations” before his death in 2007, according to the foundation’s website.

The $475,000 “is in line with the estimates” that Tioga County has secured to replace the existing mobile dental clinic, which the county has used since launching the program in 2003, Susan Medina, Tioga County deputy director of public health, tells BJNN.

Tioga County expects delivery of the new, recreational-vehicle style mobile unit by the end of the year or in early 2019, Medina added.

About the mobile unit

The clinic will have the “flexibility” to treat patients in various locations throughout the area, the lawmakers said. That includes “additional” sites, such as the Richford Community Center, according to Medina.

The mobile clinic will provide services such as cleanings, fillings, and extractions to children and adults “regardless of insurance status,” the lawmakers said.

Tioga County will bill uninsured patients on a slide scale fee basis. The county expects the program to reach 2,000 patients in the first year of operations and as many as 5,000 by the third year.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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