In 2015, childless adults were able to get Medicaid and, for the first time, many low-income adults in Waukesha County had dental benefits. However, few dental providers were accepting new patients because of the extremely low reimbursement rates.
Lake Area Free Clinic in Oconomowoc decided to add an adult Dental Clinic to serve low-income Medicaid and uninsured adults. Kathleen Schwade was a psychologist at LAFC and heard about the idea. She suggested that her husband, Dr. Robert Schwade, a dentist nearing retirement, may be able to help.
Schwade, who had a private practice for more than 40 years and served on the faculty of Marquette University School of Dentistry for seven years, offered to be the LAFC volunteer dental director.
He worked on the dental task force, studying models, visiting sites and determining what type of operation would be sustainable. In 2017, LAFC opened a six-chair dental clinic at its facility at 856 Armour Road. In 2019, with a 300-person wait list, LAFC opened a seventh chair.
As volunteer dental director, Schwade oversees clinic operations, serves on the board of directors and is the liaison between the LAFC’s medical and dental clinics. In his time with LAFC, Schwade has provided more than 2,600 hours of volunteer service.
Since 2017, LAFC has had more than 20,000 dental patient visits.