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Clinic 'overwhelmed' with response to offering free dental care to veterans

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Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 19:52:10-04

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DENVER — After a Denver7 Cost of Care story about a dental clinic offering free dental care to a handful of veterans, the clinic was overwhelmed with calls. That, according to those who work there, is a positive for the vets they get to help, but highlights the need for more resources to help treat those who served our country.

“If they’re not rated by the VA as 100% disabled from their service they are not eligible for VA dental benefits,” Linda Olson of Inner City Health Care told Denver7 last Friday.

The clinic had received a $10,000 grant, and were looking for veterans who did not have VA dental benefits to offer them free care. Once the story aired on Denver7, the response was immediate.

“The response has been amazing,” Olson said, adding that they have placed more than a dozen more veterans on their list.

The clinic is now working through how they can help each vet.

“We’re out of grant money,” Olson said. “We haven’t physically spent it yet, but we have the demand there and then some.”

Gary Turnbull is a Navy veteran who came into the clinic in response to our original story. He, like many veterans, doesn’t have dental insurance.

“They don’t give any dental unless you’re 100%... unless you’re 100% disabled,” he said.

He’s also like other vets who admits to putting off dental care because of the cost.

“Routine cleanings could be up to $2,000, $3,000 just for one side,” he said.

Since Inner City Health will likely spend all of their grant money on the veterans they have interested now, they are looking at “all avenues” for other funding, including grants and donations, to try to help even more people.

“It just behooves us for us to serve them right back with what we can do,” Olson said.

For more information on the grant or the clinic, contact the clinic at 303-296-4873 or visit their website.