Submitted by Arcora Foundation.
Greater access to essential preventive oral health and dental care will soon be available to southeast Pierce County residents.
Arcora Foundation—which advances oral health across Washington state—awarded $250,000 to Community Health Care in Pierce County to help expand dental care. The grant will help more Pierce County-area residents who are underserved—including families with lower incomes, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color communities, and rural residents—get the dental care they need to prevent and treat oral disease.
“Communities across Washington state have unmet care needs,” said Arcora Foundation President and CEO Vanetta Abdellatif. “With partnerships like this, together we can help ensure more people reach their full potential for good oral and overall health with no one left behind.”
Oral health is essential to overall health.
A healthy mouth is more than a nice smile. Good oral health is one of the most visible indicators of socioeconomic status and health equity.
Poor oral health is linked to heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and other chronic conditions. Visible decay and tooth loss for adults can affect employment opportunities, nutrition, self-esteem, and how others perceive you. For children, painful cavities can impact school attendance, speech patterns, nutrition, self-confidence, and oral health in adulthood.
More care options in Pierce County where people need them.
Arcora Foundation’s grant will help Community Health Care build a new clinic in downtown Puyallup with integrated dental, medical, and behavioral health services. The dental clinic will:
- Open 6 days a week.
- Feature 8 open and 4 closed dental operatories.
- Provide roughly 20,000 dental visits annually.
The Puyallup clinic will serve patients primarily from southern and eastern Pierce County where a greater need for health care exists. Approximately 65% of dental patients will be adults, and 20% of people in the clinic’s focus area are low income. For people who are uninsured or under-insured, Community Health Care provides care on a sliding-fee scale based on income and family size. The new clinic is set to open in spring 2024.
“Over the last 10 years, Arcora Foundation’s vital financial support has allowed us to treat 190,715 patients with 502,125 visits,” said Jeff Reynolds, DMD, Community Health Care dental director. “With this grant, we will continue to help more people with barriers access dental care.”
The new clinic also will be in the geographic area served by Arcora Foundation’s Pierce County Local Impact Network (LIN). Arcora launched the LIN initiatives 5 years ago as a strategic venture to center work on community and community solutions to address health disparities and advance equity. The Pierce County LIN is Arcora’s most recent.
The grant to Community Health Care is part of a $500,000 total investment Arcora Foundation made to two nonprofit community health centers. Community Health Care—along with Community Health Center of Snohomish County—each received $250,000 to help expand dental access in both regions for people who face barriers to care.
The importance of community health centers.
Community health centers are essential to providing quality medical, oral, and mental health care to communities that are underserved. Aug. 7-13 is National Health Center Week. This observance raises awareness of the accomplishments of health centers across the country each year.
Thanks to community health centers, people who might not otherwise have access to or afford it receive compassionate and comprehensive care. Throughout Washington state, more than 1.2 million patients receive care at more than 350 community health centers each year.
About Arcora Foundation
Arcora Foundation advances oral health across Washington state. We are the foundation of Delta Dental of Washington, and the state’s largest foundation dedicated to this cause. We center our work in equity to achieve good oral health for all. Through partnerships, we focus our prevention and access priorities on racial and ethnic communities—specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color—where disparities in oral disease and access to care are significant. Our mission is in our name: bending the arc of oral health toward equity. Learn more at ArcoraFoundation.org.
About Community Health Care
Community Health Care is a nonprofit healthcare system that has been serving the people of Pierce County since 1969. At Community Health Care, no one is denied care due to inability to pay. Uninsured and under-insured patients are billed on a sliding-fee scale based on income and family size. In 2021, a total of 46,337 patients were served through 167,149 patient visits, utilizing our 6 medical clinics, 4 dental clinics, 1 school-based clinic, and a mobile unit. Our mission: to provide the highest quality health care with compassionate service for all. To learn more, visit www.commhealth.org.