AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dell Children’s Medical Center is making some cuts to its pediatric dental services. The hospital spokeswoman told KXAN, “After careful consideration, we’ve determined the most efficient way to deliver comprehensive dental services is through partnerships with community providers.”
We first heard about the cuts after a viewer sent us a Report It e-mail, saying there are surgeries and office visits that must now be canceled, and he’s worried the children will have nowhere to go.
The pediatric dental program at Dell Children’s helps treat children who are already battling health issues associated with autism, blood disorders, cancer, infectious diseases and other rare syndromes.
The hospital officials told us many treatments will continue, but they are cutting basic dental services like cleanings and check-ups.
Wednesday, we didn’t notice anything unusual at the clinic as patients continued to come and go.
The spokeswoman said the hospital is now working with its community partners to help the affected patients. She said, “We are helping families connect with area dentist offices and clinics that work with us to deliver complete care.”
The spokeswoman then went on to say, “Dell Children’s remains focused on complex care including craniofacial and reconstructive plastic procedures.”
Back in 2006, a teenager named Dalton Ayers underwent a facial reconstruction surgery. He was just 5-years-old when an accident while riding a lawnmower nearly cost him his life.
Before 2006, many children had to travel to Dallas or Houston to receive these types of treatments. Some people are still concerned, however, losing basic dental services will impact follow-up care for patients who have undergone major surgeries.
Wednesday’s news comes after several cuts at Seton Healthcare Family. In January 2017, Seton scaled back the number of on-site interpreters in favor of virtual translators on phones and tablets.
In February 2017, Dell Children’s Medical Center eliminated child life specialist assistant positions and replaced them with volunteers.
And last fall, Seton announced it would replace some nurses on AISD campuses with school health assistants who can teleconference with licensed medical professionals. But after concerns from parents, AISD and Seton agreed to boost the number of nurses at schools.