Arcora Foundation, the Foundation of Delta Dental Washington, has announced they will award $450,500 in grant money across four health organizations in Washington to help create and grow dental clinics and expand access to care. This will enable 23,000 more dental visits for low-income individuals per year, according to a press release announcing the grants.
The four health organizations receiving this grant money include: HealthPoint Medical Clinic in SeaTac, the International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation, Klickitat Valley Public Hospital District #1, and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.
“Dental care is essential for health equity because oral health is health … Oral disease is also connected to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious health issues. Expanding access to dental care is essential so that everyone has an opportunity to lead a full and healthy life,” said Arcora Foundation President and CEO Diane Oakes in a prepared statement.
HealthPoint Medical Clinic in SeaTac is a community-based organization of non-profit health centers that aim to give high quality care. HealthPoint currently has 17 locations that provide a wide range of services. They will receive $75,000 of the grant money to create a dental center that would treat 8,400 dental patient visits per year.
International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation is an organization that aims to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health services. They provide primary medical, dental, vision, and behavioral health services. They will receive $150,000 to build upon its Shoreline Dental Clinic by adding six more dental chairs that will serve 7,400 more dental patients per year.
Klickitat Valley Public Hospital District #1 is a 17-bed critical access hospital that will receive $125,500 to create a dental clinic in Goldendale that will have three dental chairs. The additional chairs will service almost 5,000 dental visits for Medicaid and low-income patients per year. According to the press release, currently the closest dental care for adults is 35 miles away in Oregon.
According to a press release from the Klickitat Valley Public Hospital, the dental clinic will be located on the second floor of the primary care clinic. Right now, they have only been able to give basic oral health services; now, through the grant money, the medical providers will be trained on giving oral health screenings and how to apply fluoride varnish.
“We already have a waiting list of more than 200 people who need to get dental care,” said Klickitat Valley Public Hospital’s CEO, Leslie Hiebert.
The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe will receive $100,000 to establish a new dental clinic to serve 2,800 patient visits per year.
“Expanding our dental services will help reduce oral disease among tribal members, and having all health services in one location will make it more likely that oral health issues will be spotted early and treated before they become more severe,” said Jolene Sullivan, Health Services Director of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.
According to the Arcora Foundation press release, access to dental care in the state is lower in rural communities and communities of color. These grants attempt to increase these communities’ access in order to reduce health disparities.
By Laura Lundberg