Federal Grant Enables Seven Community Health Centers to Increase Access to Integrated Oral Health Care Services for Southern California Patients
SAN DIEGO— Health Center Partners of Southern California (HCP), a leading consortium of community health centers in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, today announced that seven of its members earned grants totaling nearly $2.6 million in order to expand oral health services.
The following HCP members received individual awards from HHS to expand oral health services:
Clinicas de Salud Del Pueblo—$350,000
North County Health Services—$350,000
La Maestra Community Health Centers—$350,000
San Diego American Indian Health Center—$350,000
San Ysidro Health Center—$525,000
Vista Community Clinic—$300,000
“Our member centers continue to deliver quality care to some of our most vulnerable communities, earning recognition at a national level,” said Henry Tuttle, CEO of Health Center Partners. “By demonstrating proven results and effective care models, primary health care organizations within our network continue to receive federal funding—and we applaud this most recent win that will improve access to quality health and dental care for Southern California families.”
Offering oral and medical health services is crucial since oral health problems can be a sign of illness elsewhere in the body, and lack of access to routine dental care can result in oral conditions requiring more costly emergency dental treatment. This funding, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), enables health centers across the country to increase their oral health service capacity by hiring approximately 1,600 new dentists, dental hygienists, assistants and technicians to treat approximately 785,000 new patients.
For millions of Californians, Denti-Cal, California’s Medicaid dental program, is the only option for dental care, and the program is currently failing more than 13 million residents due to lack of access. A key component to rectifying this challenge is steering more Denti-Cal eligible patients to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that not only have the capacity to treat them, but are also conveniently located in their communities. FQHCs such as those in Health Center Partners’ network provide integrated preventative care needed to improve the oral health of Californians in need while keeping costs down, and these HRSA grants help extend their reach even further. In total, $2,575,000 has been awarded to Health Center Partners members, building on a successful track record of bringing significant federal funds to Southern California to increase access for and expand services to the region’s low-income and uninsured population.
“Providing the best possible care to our patients is our top priority, and our membership in Health Center Partners offers continued access to federal financial resources and advocacy so we can deliver on that promise,” said Fernando Sañudo, CEO of Vista Community Clinic. “With this grant, we look forward to offering mobile dental services to schools, local businesses, and at community events throughout Lake Elsinore and the surrounding communities in Riverside and north San Diego County.”