The DentaQuest Foundation has announced a new opportunity for state/regional Primary Care Associations. Join its Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative. Though this Initiative, DentaQuest Foundation seeks to build national, state, and local capacity to preserve and strengthen the oral health safety net that serves the needs of millions of uninsured and underserved Americans. A Request for Proposal has been posted on the DentaQuest Foundation website. Responses are due no later than August 3, 2012. Grantees will be announced in August 2012.
Four (4) state/regional Primary Care Associations (PCA) will be selected to receive up to $100,000 each in grant funds. Grantees will be eligible to request renewal funding for up to 2 additional years. Selected PCAs and up to five (5) FQHC affiliated safety net dental programs affiliated with each state/regional PCA, will receive practice improvement technical assistance from the DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions program.
Applicants must be based in the United States or its territories and may be either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. In addition, the applicant organization must be a state-wide or multi-state Primary Care Association.
Community health centers are America’s health safety net, serving 23 million patients in more than 8,000 communities. These centers provide preventive and primary health care services to people that face financial, geographic, language, cultural and other barriers to getting care. All health centers provide primary care to families regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, but not all health centers have the capacity to provide dental care. In fact, more than 12 million health center patients do not have access to dental services. DentaQuest Foundation’s Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative is working to increase the oral health expertise and capacity of community health centers at the national, state and community levels so these centers are prepared to care for the growing numbers of people seeking care at health centers.
The DentaQuest Foundation invests in programs and initiatives that positively impact the following four inter-dependent systems:
· Public policy that supports improved oral health;
· Increased public and private funding for oral health initiatives;
· Improvement in the delivery of oral health care and prevention;
· Expanded community engagement on oral health issues.
“When healthcare reform goes into effect in 2014, nearly every child in the U.S. will have access to dental care, many for the first time,” said Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Foundation President. “The DentaQuest Foundation is concerned that the oral health safety net in its current state will not be able to handle the volume of new individuals seeking care. The Strengthening the Oral Safety Net Initiative is an investment in the preservation and growth of existing and new programs for a stronger safety net.”
Guiding the Foundation’s efforts for this campaign are successes achieved by the Massachusetts Primary Care Association, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (League) in supporting oral health in Massachusetts’ community health centers. With an investment from the DentaQuest Foundation, the League prepared its leadership to support oral health in community health center care as well as oral health advocacy and collaboration among community health centers in Massachusetts. Today, the League provides a wide variety of assistance, based on its expert understanding of federal and state environments and its strong relationships with oral health policymakers and stakeholders.
“Community Health Centers have a proud tradition of building healthier communities and families with a whole health approach that must include oral health,” said Tom Curtin, MD, Chief Medical Officer at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and Senior Vice President of the clinical division. “Tooth decay has a devastating impact on children and families, yet it is nearly 100 percent preventable with education, regular check-ups for prevention, and treatment. With wider access to oral health care made possible through initiatives like this, we can bring better health to the medically underserved.”