Delta Dental, Arcora Foundation provide $2M for new dental clinics, residency program

Providence Health Care in Spokane to expand access to oral health care

SPOKANE – Improved access to oral health care will soon be available to Spokane-area residents, thanks to a $1.6 million grant from Delta Dental of Washington and a $400,000 grant from its foundation, Arcora Foundation.

The funding will support Providence Health Care’s efforts to provide oral health care for the area’s most vulnerable and underserved residents. Providence is partnering with CHAS Health to create an innovative model for care that addresses unmet oral health care needs, leading to better overall treatment and fewer costly emergency room visits.

“Oral health is vital to overall health, but it’s often overlooked,” said Jim Dwyer, Delta Dental of Washington President and CEO. “This significant investment will improve oral health care access in the region and make a profound difference in general health and wellness.”

Coupled with $2 million from the Legislature’s recently approved capital budget, the grants will fund the construction of two new dental clinics. One will feature six dental chairs and be located on the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital campus. The second clinic will be a 20-chair clinic operated by CHAS Health near Providence Holy Family Hospital. Both locations will serve as training sites for the new Providence Spokane Dental Residency Program.

“Far too many Spokane residents face barriers to oral health care,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane). “These generous grants, along with $2 million in recently approved state funding, will help ensure that we can begin to address that need in earnest.”

The Residency program will support six dental residents annually and is the first hospital-based dental residency in Eastern Washington.  The two clinics will provide essential dental care for an estimated 12,000 patients each year. The Sacred Heart clinic will focus on care for medically-complex patients who require oral health treatment before receiving medical care. The Northside CHAS Health clinic will primarily serve patients with Apple Health, the state’s Medicaid program.

“All too often, individuals who have gone without needed dental care end up in our emergency departments,” said Elaine Couture, Chief Executive for Providence Health & Services – Washington & Montana Region. “In other cases, oral health issues, including infections, often delay critical medical procedures for our patients,” she added. “We thank Delta Dental, Arcora Foundation and the State of Washington for supporting the Spokane community and helping us establish these new dental clinics so that we can help these people get the care they need in the most appropriate settings.”

Delta Dental, Providence and CHAS Health sought to partner on this project because of their shared mission to advance health care access for all Washington residents. Too many adults with Apple Health coverage continue to experience barriers to accessing essential oral health care.

Existing federally qualified health centers are over capacity, and reimbursement rates for Apple Health patients are significantly lower than that of privately insured patients. The result is that only 23 percent of Medicaid-eligible adults saw a dentist in 2016.

Two years ago, Delta Dental of Washington contributed $2M to a similar project – partnering with Neighborcare Health, Seattle Central College and Seattle Vocational Institute – to establish the Neighborcare Health Dental Clinic at Pacific Tower in Seattle. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the nation with a dual role of serving low-income Medicaid and uninsured patients on a sliding scale fee, as well as training dental hygiene and dental assisting students. In its first year the clinic saw more than 2,500 patients totaling more than 10,000 visits.

The consequences of untreated oral disease are often pain, infection and costly emergency room visits. While emergency rooms can treat immediate pain and infection, they are not equipped to address underlying causes, which leads to repeat visits, increased health care costs, and requests for pain medication, often opioids.

The expanded dental care access will complement efforts already underway by the Spokane Oral Health Local Impact Network, which aims to reduce health disparities by developing strategic partnerships and offering proven approaches like school sealant programs and integrating oral health into primary care.

Groundbreaking for the clinics is set for this spring. The Sacred Heart clinic is scheduled to open in the summer and the joint-CHAS Health clinic is scheduled to open later in the year.

Contact:

Michelle Hege
Desautel Hege
P: (509) 444-2350
michelleh@wearedh.com

Elizabeth DeRuyter
Providence Health Care
P: (509) 474-3081
Elizabeth.DeRuyter@providence.org

About Delta Dental of Washington

Delta Dental of Washington is the state’s largest dental benefit provider, covering more than two million people in Washington state and an additional one million people nationally. As the only not-for-profit carrier dedicated to improving oral health in Washington, Delta Dental of Washington plays a vital role through public awareness, philanthropy and advocacy. For more information, visit: www.deltadentalwa.com

About Arcora Foundation

Arcora Foundation is fully funded by Delta Dental of Washington, a non-profit organization that is the leading dental benefits company in the state. Arcora is dedicated to improving overall health through sustainable programs and public policies that improve oral health. Arcora’s efforts in Spokane County include its participation in the Local Impact Network and Smile Spokane. For more information, visit: www.ArcoraFoundation.org

About Providence Health Care

Providence Health Care is the eastern Washington service area of Providence Health & Services, a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves – especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. In eastern Washington, the Providence Health Care network of services includes Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital and Providence Holy Family Hospital – all nationally recognized for quality care, as well as two critical access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah. It also includes a full continuum of services – Providence Medical Park in Spokane Valley (a comprehensive multi-specialty center), three urgent care centers, home health, assisted living, adult day health and skilled nursing care. Providence Medical Group of eastern Washington includes more than 800 physicians and advanced practitioners. Its medical staff includes primary care providers, surgical subspecialists and medical specialists. For more information, visit www.phc.org

About Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS Health)

CHAS Health is a non-profit, federally qualified health center (FQHC) providing high-quality medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services to families and individuals of all ages, regardless of ability to pay. CHAS Health currently serves over 74,000 patients each year throughout Spokane County and the Lewis Clark Valley. For more information, visit www.chas.org