Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program?

Since 2000, Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles® have provided cost-effective medical, dental and educational services to underserved children in their own communities. Through relationships with local healthcare providers, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® program provides immunizations and health screenings, oral health services, diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases and health education to children who would otherwise go without health care. These state-of-the-art mobile clinics are designed and built specifically for the delivery of pediatric health care that is tailored to each of the community’s needs.

This newest Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which provides service in northern Ohio, marks the 40th mobile unit for this Global wide program. Currently, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs are operated in six countries, providing services to approximately 100,000 children each year. For more information, visit

What type of service will the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in Northeastern Ohio provide?

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will provide underserved children between the ages of 3 to 12 years old with immediate dental care. The program is targeted to provide preventive care to reduce the number of children with early childhood caries, educate the community on the importance of proper oral hygiene and to reduce the number of children who are sent to the operating room each year for dental treatment.

Uniquely equipped to care for children’s dental needs, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will provide follow-up pediatric dental services such as filling cavities, performing extractions, placing crowns and providing pulp therapy to northern Ohio children enrolled in Medicaid.

Part of the exam also includes the application of a bacteria-killing fluoride varnish. This fluoride varnish reduces decay by 40% if applied every six months and will strengthen young teeth, preventing costly dental procedures in the future. In addition to providing on-site care, the staff will work to connect the children and their families to primary care dentists, as well as provide assistance to enroll in appropriate insurance programs. The youngsters will also learn about tooth decay and gum disease, and will learn proper brushing technique and proper oral hygiene. Best of all, the children will love that they get to take home their own toothbrush, sticker of choice and a grade sheet that informs their parents about their teeth and gives follow-up care information.

Who operates the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in each local market?

Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) grants the fully equipped vehicle with medical and/or dental capabilities to the selected local healthcare organization. Operational and administrative expenses are covered by the local RMHC Chapter and that healthcare provider. All clinical and educational services performed on board the vehicle are coordinated and administered by the staff that has been hired by the healthcare organization.

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program in our area is a core program of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio (RMHC-NEO®) and with clinical services provided by a dedicated staff from the Irving and Jeanne Tapper Pediatric Dental Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Who will staff the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile?

It will be staffed with UH Rainbow dentists, pediatric dental residents, and dental assistants who specialize in behavior management. Additionally, most programs choose to supplement their staff with a rotating base of volunteers, medical/dental students and nursing students. In an effort to provide continuity of care and consistency, however, it is important to note that there is always a core staff that serves the community on a regular basis. The rotating staff merely complements the core staff.

Does the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program replace regular visits to a doctor or dentist’s office?

It is important to note that services provided on board the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile do NOT replace regular visits to a doctor or a dentist’s office. Rather, the program is a point of entry into a regular pattern of health care for underserved children with the goal of connecting the child and his/her family to a medical and/or dental home. In some cases, we understand that the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will need to be the “medical or dental home” for the child because of a severe lack of healthcare providers in the community or the limited number of providers that will accept children with Medicaid, etc. However, to date, these types of programs have been more of the exception than the rule.

Why should I worry about my child’s teeth at such an early age, when he/she still has so many baby teeth?

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in America, affecting 50 percent of first graders and 80 percent of 17 year olds. Untreated tooth decay and disease can affect a child’s health, well-being growth, and achievement. Children with serious oral health problems can have difficulty eating and sleeping, or concentrating in school. Over 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related problems.

Can you provide any statistics?

According to a release from the U.S. Census Bureau in September 2009, the nation’s official poverty rate in 2008 was 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007. There were 39.8 million people in poverty in 2008, up from 37.3 million in 2007. Meanwhile, the number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008, while the percentage remained unchanged at 15.4 percent.

In February 2010, a study was released by the PEW Center on the States declaring that at least one in five U.S. children go without dental care and most states lack key policies to ensure access to cost saving preventive treatments. Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, said, "Americans will be spending $106 billion on dental care this year. Much of that care pays for costly treatments such as fillings and root canals, which have their origins in poor childhood dental care."

Do the parents/guardians of the children have to pay for the services provided by the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile?

All services offered on board the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® are provided free of charge to children and their families. That is to say, no out-of-pocket expenses are incurred and no child is denied care based on ability to pay. However, reimbursement from a third party, such as Medicaid, is sought if applicable, as is sliding-scale payment that complements the pay schedule already in place at the base of operations. Moreover, in conjunction with their visits to the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, parents or guardians will have the opportunity to enroll their child(ren) into a federally-assisted health insurance program, to help ensure future access to health care.

How will the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile staff determine what places to visit? Also, what are the first steps in bringing this program to my community?

The Irving and Jeanne Tapper Pediatric Dental Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital will mirror the community head start initiative that Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine has had in place for several years, and will eventually expand the program to reach more areas throughout all of Northern Ohio by the year 2013.

To find out more about bringing this program to your community, please contact Nadine Hayes, Clinical Manager at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital at 216-844-7909 or .

I thought that Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital was just a children’s hospital. What is the Irving and Jeanne Tapper Pediatric Dental Center?

The services provided at the Center begin with a team of Pediatric dentists who are uniquely qualified by training and experience to provide the most appropriate, cost-effective dental care for children. An expert staff and state-of-the-art equipment enable the Tapper Dental Center at Rainbow to offer compassionate, high quality care to children, including those who face medical or developmental challenges stemming from a variety of conditions. The Center welcomes children of all ages, from infancy to young adults, and is uniquely equipped to care for patients with acute or chronic problems, including children with special healthcare needs. The Center provides dental health care services that emphasize prevention and comprehensive treatments to help its patients attain and maintain optimum oral health for their lifetime.

Does the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile only treat children?

To be consistent with the mission of RMHC, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile provides dental care and educational services to children primarily between the ages of 3 to 12 years old. However, the highly trained staff can recommend dental professionals in each community to treat all individuals’ needs. Also, the Case Western Reserve Dental School is another option for affordable oral healthcare service and is a partner of University Hospital. For more information, visit

Discover the UH Difference at Rainbow. Unlike pediatric services offered by general community hospitals, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is a dedicated, full-service pediatric hospital with experts who offer a depth and breadth of high quality care that is not available at any other institution in the region. As a leading academic medical center that is the primary teaching hospital of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, they offer cutting-edge therapies to area children long before they’re available nationwide. Consistently ranked as one of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S.News & World Report, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital features a staff of more than 1,300 physicians, nurses, child life specialists, social workers and other professionals devoted solely to pediatric medicine and surgery. Visit for more information.

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