By Emily Hudson
During the month of February the Utah County Health Department is hosting a “Head-to-Toe Celebration” in honor of Children”s National Dental Health Care Month.
Every Monday in February, the Utah County Health Department, in conjunction with Dental Health Month is offering “well-child” check ups for Utah county families.
Children up to age four on either Medicaid or Utah”s Children”s Health Insurance Program are eligible for a free check-up through the new program. All other children, whether or not they are insured, are welcome and encouraged to attend for a fee of $30.
“This is a new program for this year,” said Charn Burton, the Utah county coordinator for Child Health Evaluation and Care. “We always try to do something new and creative every year, and this year we”re doing the head to toe check ups to create awareness for parents that we do have health opportunities for them.”
The program is meant to serve as an overall indicator of children”s health. The Utah County Health Department wants all parents to know that whether they are insured or not they have options to keep their children healthy.
“The essence of the program is well child check ups,” said Jackie Black, the political director of the Utah County Nursing Division. “People will procrastinate doctor visits because of illness and such, and then they get so far behind it”s hard to catch up on shots and all that. We want to encourage families to get check ups and establish a good rapport with a medical doctor.”
The offer is for well children, not children who are already ill, and includes a check up, hemoglobin and urine testing, a vision check, fluoride teeth varnishing, a fluoride prescription, a free toothbrush kit and other prizes. The offer also comes with a mandatory lead poisoning test for Medicaid clients, which is available to other children for an additional $30.
“It”s very important to take care of problems with your child,” Burton said. “It”s been proven that a lot of illnesses, like diabetes and heart problems come from poor dental hygiene. We hope to catch it early and refer families out to dentists who can work out a payment program to accommodate them.”
The Health Department will serve as a liaison between low-income and families without insurance and doctors who will take them. Blake said most of the time they can help residents over the phone. However, people can only be apart of the “Head-to-Toe Celebration” if they visit the Utah County Health Department building.
“So far, most of the Mondays are all booked up,” Burton said. “But if you call in we”ll make room and time for you. Everyone who calls will be seen.”
An appointment must be made in order to be able to participate in the celebration of health. Residents are encouraged to call 851-7038 or 851-7024 to schedule a Head-to-Toe check-up.
The program bases eligibility on family size and income. For example, a four-person family can make up to $41,300 a year and still be eligible.
Other requirements include that children must be less than 19 years old; they must be U.S. citizens or legal residents and have no other health insurance.
If they can”t make it on Monday, families can stop by any day during February to get a fluoride prescription and the children will receive a toothbrush kit and a poster to remind them to brush their teeth everyday.