Temple and Penn universities’ dental schools are offering free dental care to furloughed government workers.
Dentist residents, dental students, and faculty of the Kornberg School of Dentistry will see patients with urgent dental needs weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the school’s North Broad Street location. Appointments can be made by calling 215-707-2900. Walk-ins are accepted until 3 p.m.
Penn Dental Medicine is similarly providing emergency dental care to furloughed federal employees weekdays from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. at 240 S 40th St.
Federal employees must bring identification to confirm their employment and contact information for their primary dentist, if they have one. Temple will send records of any dental services provided to workers’ regular dentist.
Furloughed workers who do not have dental insurance are welcome.
“We feel a great obligation to serve furloughed federal employees suffering from emergent and urgent dental-care needs amid the federal government’s shutdown,” said Amid Ismail, dean of the dental school, in a statement.
The government shutdown has affected 800,000 federal employees who are either out of work or working without pay until Congress and President Donald Trump reach a budget agreement to fund the government. About 45,000 federal workers live in the Philadelphia region, though not all are affected by the shutdown.
Considering about 60 percent of Americans report not having enough cash to cover a $500 emergency, it’s not surprising that some furloughed federal workers are struggling to pay bills and tightening their household budgets without their regular paycheck. About 4,100 federal workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have applied for unemployment benefits since the shutdown began.
Health benefits for federal workers remain intact even though they’re not getting paid, but workers may be reluctant to follow through on medical appointments that could lead to a big bill if they know there’s no paycheck coming to cover it.
In another move, Main Line Health said it would defer co-payments and deductible billing for furloughed workers who visit one of the health system’s hospitals, health centers, or urgent care centers until the government is fully reopened.
“We understand the financial impact that the government shutdown is having on families across the country, including those in our community who rely on Main Line Health for their care. In keeping with our mission and values, we are committed to ensuring that federal workers in our community and their families continue to receive the care they need,” Main Line CEO Jack Lynch said in a statement.
Rutgers Health is also deferring co-payments, deductibles and balances due for furloughed federal workers until a month after the government reopens.
Several banks are reversing overdraft fees and some utilities have agreed to waive late payment fees for furloughed workers.
Philadelphia food agencies are setting up distribution sites for workers in need of help.
Temple’s dental school is at 3223 N. Broad St. and is accessible from the Allegheny station of the Broad Street Line. Validated parking is available at Temple University Hospital.
Penn Dental is asking federal employees to bring identification to confirm their employment and a zero-dollar pay stub to verify they are being furloughed.
Walk-ins are accepted through 3 p.m. or make an appointment by calling 215-898-8965.