Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sanford clinic bolsters state's 'safety net':

Most of York County, Maine, is fluoridated:

"Bad dentures, missing teeth, rows of cavities - these are health problems associated with poorer, more rural parts of Maine, not York County, a place known for affluent seaside communities and explosive population growth.

But to clinicians at Spruce Street Health Center, these clearly are issues endemic in Maine's southernmost county, which quietly struggles with pockets of poverty and a shortage of health care practitioners.

For every 3,012 York County residents, there is just one dentist, compared with 2,165-to-1 statewide. The physician ratio for York County - 1,506-to-1 - also is worse than the state ratio of 1,039-to-1.

To counter those numbers, Spruce Street Health Center opened this year, becoming Maine's 18th federally qualified health center - and York County's first. Under the designation, Spruce Street receives substantial support from the federal government for seeing everybody who walks through its doors, regardless of their ability to pay."