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The Muslim Community Center Clinic celebrated the inauguration of the dental clinic inside its current facility on New Hampshire Road in Silver Springs, MD on August 1, 2014.
Bright, clean and and classy, the clinic met and exceeded the county’s expectations. “I would get my teeth cleaned here,” said Councilman George Leventhal. The clinic was inaugurated by Leventhal, a Democratic politician who won his third term as an At-large member of the Montgomery County Council and Uma S. Ahluwalia, Director of Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
The construction costs and the first year operating expenses are provided by Montgomery County. The clinic will open on Saturday and Monday from 9-5 in the beginning. As demand increases, MCC Clinic plans to add more days to the patient calendar.
All appointments for the month of August are already booked. Nancy, a resident of Rockville, who brings her parents for their checkups signed up when she saw the sign on the door.
Equipped with the latest dental chairs and TV monitors with the ability to display patient x rays ‘so they don't have to get up from the chairs’, the room can accommodate two patients at a time.
Several thousand patients at the MCC Medical clinic are diabetic and need eye exams and dental checkups as a part of their routine tests. “We already have eye exams, but needed to add dental to our list of services offered,” says Dr. Azad Ejaz, Executive Director of the clinic. The motivation in starting the dental clinic was to serve these patients needs as dental care is particularly important for people with diabetes because they face a higher than normal risk of oral health problems due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels.
In accordance to their insurance, right now the clinic is adults-only, but Dr. Ejaz thinks that they may be able to accommodate children in the future.
Councilman Leventhal said the county has been working very hard to make universal health care available for all and MCC has been a ‘vital part’ of the effort. Oral health is an area that the county has fallen short on—efforts to expand the availability of dental and other oral health services are ongoing. “We still have gaps in dental, specialty care, behavioral and mental health, although I am confident primary care will be universally to all residents in the next couple of years,“ he said, noting that between Affordable Healthcare exchanges and more than a dozen county clinics that serve those on Medicaid and those who are not eligible for Medicaid, all county residents will have access to primary care. He appreciated the good work that MCC has done and continues to do.
Zaffer Mirza, representing the MCC BOD was present delighted to see the work Muslims were doing to put faith into action. "Our values are serving the community and serving those who are underserved," he said. He showed the Muslim Link the new van the clinic purchased to shuttle patients from the bus and train stations in a 5 mile radius. MCC is not currently on a regular bus route.
Representing the founders of the MCC Clinic, Dr. and Mrs. Asif Qadri attended with their daughter Shireen Qadri, a member of the Board of Directors of Child Nurture and Relief (CHINAR), a non-profit organization focused on the psycho-social rehabilitation of children of conflict areas and her husband JD Walsh. The couple was visiting from New York. Other community partners were also present.
The MoCo patients only have to pay $20 for a checkup, panoramic x ray and standard cleaning. All other patients are expected to pay $50. Root canals, extractions, and filling will be fifty percent off from the market rate.
These dental clinics visits will not be reimbursed by the county, so the clinic needs to make sure that it is self-sustained. Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield are all accepted by MCC. The dental clinic is not yet covered by Medicaid and Medicare, however MCC has applied for qualification and is aggressively pursuing approval. Those who have Medicare or Medicaid can pay $50 or wait until MCC gets approved from the government.
Two male and one female dentist will be on the team: Dr. Arif Masood, Dr. Ali from Georgetown, and Dr. Baig will see patients at the MCC dental clinic. The doctors will be paid a reasonable market rate. Along with the three dentists, the clinic has also hired a dental hygienist and a dental assistant.
“We hope that we will generate enough money to sustain the operation as no further funds will be coming from the county,” says Dr. Ejaz with a smile, as he urges Muslims in the area to use the facilities.