Santa Rosa Community Health Centers has received a $2.7 million federal grant to fund a 12-chair dental health clinic for uninsured and underinsured children and adults. The new clinic will provide high quality dental care for thousands of underserved people in our community. The award will help renovate and equip the new dental clinic with 12 dental chairs, and a staff of 24 people, serving approximately 6,000 people for 18,000 visits per year. Agency officials hope to open the new site in 12-18 months.
“Santa Rosa Community Health Centers is thrilled to have the federal resources to open a dental clinic in Santa Rosa. More than half of our patients have never seen a dentist; the new dental clinic will make it possible for them to get the care they need and deserve to have a healthy, productive life,” said Naomi Fuchs, Chief Executive Officer at Santa Rosa Community Health Centers. There are no dental providers in Santa Rosa Community Health Centers’ service area that treat uninsured and/or low-income patients with a sliding scale fee schedule.
Services to be provided include: oral health preventive care and patient education, diagnosis and treatment of dental disease (including diagnosis and treatment of acute pain, swelling, infection or trauma; fluoride therapy; oral cancer detection; restorative services; basic endodontic, periodontal and oral surgery), and linkages to primary medical care.
The grant was written in response to a report and recommendations made by the Sonoma County Oral Health Task Force in 2011. The report indicated that “low-income adults and children suffer disproportionately from painful untreated dental problems and many lack access to a regular source of preventive care. At particular risk are low-income children, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities.” The report goes on to say, “Most low-income adults and many children have little or no access to affordable oral health prevention and treatment.” One of the recommendations made by the Task Force was to expand access to dental care through existing community health centers.