Many people cringe when they hear the sound of dentist's instruments, but Daniel Stoval is happy to be in this chair, happy that he's getting this normally $300 cleaning for free.
Daniel says, “I don't have any kind of insurance, most places I've worked don't have any insurance either, so you basically carry it yourself or you're just out of luck.”
Daniel is one of an estimated 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance. They either go without care or visit a clinic like this one, operating solely on donations and volunteers.
Monday at the Panama City City Hall, Bay County Commissioner Mike Nelson held a special program to shed a light on this growing problem.
Mike says, “If you got a lot of uninsured, that drives up the health care cost because they have to charge more naturally to cover the cost of that for free.”
It also prevents health providers from offering the best medical technology or paying competitive salaries for the best medical personnel. That's why free clinics like the St. Andrew Community Med Center exist. It helps ease the burden everyone faces and gives the uninsured a fighting chance.
“There's no way I could of got this work done without this place. It gives you back your smile and a lot of confidence.”
Not to mention, a little hope.
The St. Andrew Community Medical Center is the only clinic in the Panhandle that offers free dental care.