Grants enable expanded access to essential dental care at two Puget Sound clinics, underscores value of community health centers.
Greater access to essential dental care will soon be available in Snohomish and Pierce counties. Residents who face barriers to preventive oral health care and dental treatments will have more options.
Arcora Foundation—which advances oral health across Washington state—awarded a total of $500,000 to two community health centers to help expand capacity and access to care. The two non-profits—Community Health Care in Pierce County and Community Health Center of Snohomish County—will help expand dental access in both regions for families with lower incomes, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, and rural residents.
“Communities across Washington state have unmet care needs,” said Arcora Foundation President and CEO Vanetta Abdellatif. “With partnerships like these, together we can help ensure more people reach their full potential for good oral and overall health with no one left behind.”
The $500,000 in grant funding is part of Arcora Foundation’s long-term, statewide effort to increase dental care access. Arcora has invested more than $10 million in grant funding to community health centers and nonprofit clinics throughout the state, including in King, Spokane, Clark, Clallam, Whatcom, Ferry, and Yakima counties.
Oral health is essential to overall health.
A healthy mouth is more than a nice smile. Good oral health is one of the most visible indicators of socioeconomic status and health equity. Poor oral health is linked to heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and other chronic conditions. Visible decay and tooth loss for adults can affect employment opportunities, nutrition, self-esteem, and how others perceive you. For children, painful cavities can affect school attendance, speech patterns, nutrition, self-confidence, and oral health in adulthood.
More care options and efficiency for patients.
Community Health Care in Pierce County will use their $250,000 grant from Arcora Foundation for a new clinic in downtown Puyallup. It will provide whole person care with integrated dental, medical, and behavioral health services. Once completed in spring of 2024, the new clinic will have 8 open and 4 closed dental operatories to accommodate an estimated 20,000 dental visits a year.
“Over the last 10 years, Arcora Foundation’s vital financial support has allowed us to treat 190,715 patients with 502,125 visits,” said Jeff Reynolds, DMD, Community Health Care dental director. “With this grant, we will continue to help more people with barriers access dental care.”
The $250,000 grant Community Health Center of Snohomish County received from Arcora Foundation will go toward the expansion of its Everett-Central Clinic. The redeveloped clinic will add dental services, eliminating the need for patients to make medical and dental appointments at multiple locations. The dental clinic will include 12 new dental operatories and provide approximately 13,100 new dental patient visits annually. The opening date is set for mid-August of 2022.
“Arcora’s grant allows us to connect more people to dental care when and where they need it,” said Sue Yoon, DMD, chief dental officer for Community Health Center of Snohomish County. “This is a major step in making patient access to dental and medical services easier, which benefits everyone.”
The importance of community health centers.
Community health centers are essential to providing quality medical, oral, and mental health care to communities that are underserved. Aug. 7-13 is National Health Center Week. This observance raises awareness of the accomplishments of health centers across the country each year.
Thanks to community health centers, people who might not otherwise have access to or afford it receive compassionate and comprehensive care. Throughout Washington state, more than 1.2 million patients receive care at more than 350 community health centers each year.
About Arcora Foundation
Arcora Foundation advances oral health across Washington state. We are the foundation of Delta Dental of Washington, and the state’s largest foundation dedicated to this cause. We center our work in equity to achieve good oral health for all. Through partnerships, we focus our prevention and access priorities on racial and ethnic communities—specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color—where disparities in oral disease and access to care are significant. Our mission is in our name: bending the arc of oral health toward equity. Learn more at ArcoraFoundation.org.
About Community Health Care
Community Health Care is a nonprofit healthcare system that has been serving the people of Pierce County since 1969. At Community Health Care, no one is denied care due to inability to pay. Uninsured and under-insured patients are billed on a sliding-fee scale based on income and family size. In 2021, a total of 46,337 patients were served through 167,149 patient visits, utilizing our 6 medical clinics, 4 dental clinics, 1 school-based clinic, and a mobile unit. Our mission: to provide the highest quality health care with compassionate service for all. To learn more, visit www.commhealth.org
About Community Health Center of Snohomish County
Community Health Center of Snohomish County (CHC) is a non-profit, Federally Qualified Community Health Center providing medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health, and additional ancillary services to nearly 70,000 individuals with 243,049 visits in 2021. For over 35 years, CHC has provided services to Snohomish County residents who face barriers to health care with the mission to provide our diverse community with access to high quality, affordable primary health care. CHC operates seven medical primary care clinics, two medical walk-in clinics, six dental clinics, and five pharmacies, located in convenient locations in Arlington, Edmonds, North Everett, Central Everett, South Everett, and Lynnwood. For information or to schedule an appointment, call 425-789-3789 or visit www.CHCsno.org.