Discounted dental care approved in St. James

Published 8:05 am Saturday, October 6, 2012



CONVENT – The St. James Parish Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to bring discounted dental care to parish residents through a partnership with the National Association of Counties, or NACo.

Uninsured or underinsured residents of St. James who enroll in the program have the opportunity to save between 5 and 50 percent on routine dental care such as cleanings, X-rays, crowns and root canals at participating dental practices in the area.

The monthly enrollment fee is $6.95 for individual residents and $8.95 for families. The program is similar to a prescription drug discount program through NACo the council approved earlier this year.

Parish President Timmy Roussel said there are currently no providers in St. James Parish that accept the program, but some dental practices in St. John, Ascension and Lafourche parishes are participating. He said the program is open to recruits in the parish if there is interest.

During discussion of the resolution, Council Chairman Jimmy Brazan asked that the council delay a vote on the measure until local dentists can be consulted.

“We should find out how they feel before we commit to a contract for this,” Brazan said.

A motion to delay the vote failed for lack of a second. Councilman Alvin St. Pierre, Jason Amato, Terry McCreary, Charles Ketchens and Ken Brass were in favor of the resolution. Brazan cast the lone no vote. Councilman Ralph Patin was absent.

In other action, the council approved an ordinance to raise residential fees at the St. James Youth Detention Center from $130 to $230 per occupant per day to help cover the increasing cost of housing juvenile inmates.

Roussel said the newly created Youth Detention Center Board of Commissioners came to the parish with the idea to raise fees to help defray some of the costs to the parish. He said the parish currently pays about $3 million per year to keep the detention center open.

St. James Emergency Preparedness Director Eric DeRoche said the increased fees cover depreciation costs and create a cash reserve for repairs to buildings. He said the detention center houses about 30 inmates on average at any given time throughout the year.

Roussel also announced at the meeting that the Paulina/Grand Point Volunteer Fire Department has improved its fire rating from Class 5 to Class 4. He said the improved rating would result in a 5 percent decrease in insurance premiums for homeowners in that area.