Recently Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $3,755,952 million in funding to support ten Community Health Centers in Colorado. The funding will increase access to integrated oral health care services and improve oral health
“Oral health is an important part of our overall physical health and well-being,” said Secretary Burwell. “The funding we are awarding will reduce barriers to quality dental care for hundreds of thousands of Americans by bringing new oral health providers to health centers across the country.”
Oral health problems can be a sign of illness elsewhere in the body. Additionally, lack of access to preventive and routine dental care for underserved populations can result in dental conditions requiring more costly emergency dental treatment.
“HRSA will continue to explore ways to further integrate oral health services within primary care settings, and increase awareness of the connection between oral health and overall health,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae.
Nationwide, the announcement included nearly $156 million in funding to support 420 health centers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This funding enables Community Health Centers to expand integrated oral health care services and increase the number of patients served.
With these awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Community Health Centers across the country will increase their oral health service capacity by hiring approximately 1,600 new dentists, dental hygienists, assistants, aides, and technicians to treat nearly 785,000 new Community Health Center Program patients.
Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc. (“Valley-Wide”) was awarded $525,000 to develop oral health services at its Fremont Family Medical Center in Cañon City. Valley-Wide currently operates seven dental practices in Southern Colorado. As noted by Juan Recinos, the Clinic Manager for Valley-Wide’s Fremont Family Medical Center,
We recognized that many of our patients have a need for dental services and wish to obtain such services locally. This grant will allow us to implement this very important service for our patients in Cañon City.”
Valley-Wide plans to have integrated dental services, offered with the medical services available at the clinic, by the end of 2016. For more information, please call Clinic Manager, Juan Recinos, at 719-252-0076.