Economy takes bite out of Missouri mobile dental program

COLUMBIA | State budget woes could force a nearly 50-year-old mobile dental program for developmentally disabled children and adults to cut way back on its services.

The mobile unit left Columbia late last week after a five-week stay amid uncertainty about whether it would be coming back. It's one of two units — there used to be three before previous budget cuts — that serve 30,000 patients across the state.

The Missouri Elks Foundation pays more than $200,000 a year — about enough money for one of the mobile units — and the state at one time paid $500,000. Last year's state contribution was $177,000, but its financial support ends completely on Sept. 30.

Truman Medical Center in Kansas City provides the services.