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UCP will resurrect dental sealant program in St. Lawrence County

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CANTON — The dental sealant program dropped by St. Lawrence County last year should restart in the fall under the auspices of Cerebral Palsy Association of Northern New York through the state Health Department.

“We have submitted everything we need to,” association Executive Director Doris A. Chenier said. “We’re waiting for them to process the paperwork. They just need to execute the contracts. We don’t anticipate any issues.”

County legislators agreed last year to end the program Oct. 31 after it ran into difficulties with the Health Department about a quick transfer to Cerebral Palsy. Switching the program to CP was delayed for about a year and the county did not want to foot the bill to keep it going. Even with a $50,000 annual grant, it would have cost the county $163,433 to operate the program for one year.

The program — which has served nearly 3,000 children annually — had been targeted for elimination earlier in the year because of fiscal constraints.

As a federal qualified health center, CP — which also runs a dental clinic — was qualified to take over the program. It already has systems set up for billing, human resources and administration. Resurrection of the program will means jobs for a dental hygienist and an assistant.

Ms. Chenier said she was not sure how many schools the dental sealant program would handle in its first year under CP.

“Everybody feels this is an important program,” she said. “We would like to make it work.”

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