Demand for dental care program growing, but funding isn’t

CRUCIAL CHECKUP: Margaret Vargas, right, a dental hygienist with nonprofit CareLink Inc.’s mobile dental clinic, conducts an examination of Sister Anne Kelly at The Villa at Saint Antoine in North Smithfield. The clinic serves 3,000 patients at 53 Rhode Island nursing homes.  / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
CRUCIAL CHECKUP: Margaret Vargas, right, a dental hygienist with nonprofit CareLink Inc.’s mobile dental clinic, conducts an examination of Sister Anne Kelly at The Villa at Saint Antoine in North Smithfield. The clinic serves 3,000 patients at 53 Rhode Island nursing homes. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
For more than 13 years, CareLink Inc. has traversed Rhode Island with a mobile dentistry practice, serving elderly, low-income patients in nursing homes who rely on Medicaid plans that only offer partial reimbursements for dental care. Some funding used to fuel the mobile dentistry clinic comes from the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and through grants, according…

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