Tag Archives: clinics

HHS targets oral care gaps in ‘health infrastructure’ awards

Photo: Travis Wise via Flickr

More than $85 million in new federal awards will help health care centers from Aniak, Alaska, to Miami Gardens, Fla., increase access to dental care in their communities.

The awards of up to $300,000 each will enable 298 federally funded clinics to start or expand oral health care services. The money will be used to buy and install dental and X-ray equipment, train staff, renovate facilities and purchase mobile dental units. Continue reading

Colorado clinics serving Medicaid patients are adding dental services

Photo: Kate Sumbler via Flickr

Photo: Kate Sumbler via Flickr

What if you could get your dental and medical care in the very same place?

A growing number of Colorado residents, including Medicaid children and refugee families are doing just that, thanks to an innovative program led by the nonprofit Delta Dental Foundation. Continue reading

Community health centers often fail to provide easy access to oral care

Locating both dental and medical providers at a community health center can better ensure that low-income patients get the oral health services they need, in part by enabling these providers to more easily coordinate patient-centered care.

Yet by these measures, many clinics in California’s safety net system are falling short. Only one third of the state’s community health centers offer dental care, a team from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) has found.

James Crall

James Crall

“Co-location of dental providers in primary care settings can greatly improve accessibility of dental care in several ways,” the team said in a paper published in the September issue of CHPR’s Health Policy Brief. “The co-location model can enable patients to obtain more than one service in a single trip. It can also make it easier for medical providers to screen and refer high-risk patients to dentists who will see them and allow medical and dental providers to easily collaborate case management.”

Equipping and staffing clinics to offer dental care requires additional spending but co-location is an important step to consider, particularly in communities facing shortages of Medicaid dental providers, according to the paper. “The decision by organizations co-locate is likely to have a significant and positive impact on access to dental care and improved oral health of the population,” the study’s authors concluded. Continue reading

Chain hit with suit alleging it illegally owns dental clinics

A class-action lawsuit, accusing one of America’s largest corporate dental chains of illegally owning dental practices and of deceiving patients, has been filed.

The Center for Public Integrity’s David Heath reported on the suitas part of his continuing coverage of Aspen Dental.

Mary OttoMary Otto, AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health is writing blog posts, editing tip sheets and articles and gathering resources to help our members cover oral health care.

If you have questions or suggestions for future resources on the topic, please send them to mary@healthjournalism.org.

In June, “Dollars and Dentists,” a joint investigation led by CPI and PBS Frontline took a long look at rapidly expanding corporate dental chains, and probed the question of whether the profit motive built into their business model leads to overtreatment of patients.

The program joined a growing body of related inquiries, by the press and state and federal agencies and legislators. In May, Sydney Freedberg of Bloomberg took a detailed look at the model under the headline “Dental Abuse Seen Driven By Public Investments.”

Months of coverage by Dallas-Fort Worth television station WFAA into questionable Medicaid billing at corporate-owned All Smiles Dental Centers helped spur lawsuits by the state attorney general. Continue reading

Stimulus boosts health care for poor Americans

The Associated Press’s Kristen Wyatt looks at one category of stimulus spending that’s already making an impact: funding for clinics serving the poor and disadvantaged.

From the Colorado homeless shelter to rural Pennsylvania clinics that can accept new patients, health centers that serve the poor are among the first places the federal stimulus package is being spent.

The stimulus law sets aside $2.5 billion for free and low-cost health clinics, and a big chunk of it – about $500 million – is already being spent. The White House has promised another burst of money this summer.

Wyatt quotes grateful patients and providers, but also tempers the enthusiasm with a reminder that the money comes in the form of one-time grants that aren’t designed to fix the systemic problems behind the lack of health services for America’s poorest residents.

For a full list of Health and Human Services programs receiving stimulus money, visit the HHS page at recovery.gov or use this map to find programs benefiting from the stimulus in your area.