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Wirt County Recovery Team receives grant from Sisters Health Foundation

Kim Richards and Elise Sheppard of the Wirt County Recovery Team display a $5,000 check they received from the Sisters Health Foundation to provide dental and vision care for clients. (Photo Provided)

ELIZABETH — Clients of the Wirt County Recovery Team now have access to dental and vision insurance thanks to a grant from the Sisters Health Foundation.

A majority of the clients have Medicaid and coordinator Kim Richards said the grant will help bridge the gaps as that insurance does not cover vision or dental appointments.

“There are a lot of our clients who are hitting a year at this point and that was one of the big struggles they were having. They didn’t have dental coverage, there’s damage done on their teeth when they’re in active addiction,” she said.

Previously, the organization had to pay out of pocket for those necessary appointments, but with the COVID-19, they have been unable to hold fundraisers to be able to do so.

The grant will help around 100 clients receive vision and dental treatment. Although the check has been presented and the funds are ready to use, Richards said they are trying to get an agreement with local dentists and eye doctors to provide services.

“None of our clients have seen an eye doctor since they’ve been in school and for some (that was) 40 years (ago),” she said.

Cleanings and eye exams along with basic glasses if needed are what they are hoping to offer clients.

“A lot of clients relapsed over the past three years because of pain. The drugs do terrible damage to people’s teeth all across the board. It doesn’t matter the method of using or the drug of choice, it causes damage that cannot be fixed 90 percent of the time,” Richards said.

The only time a client would have access to dental and vision coverage is if they have private insurance which applies to only about one in 25 of their clients, Richards said.

Another few hundred dollars was built into the grant to reimburse volunteers who drive clients to non-medical related appointments.

The Wirt County Recovery Team is looking for a dentist to work with its clients within a 50 mile radius. If any dentist’s offices are interested, they can contact the Recovery Team at 304-449-4770.

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