Health centers in five Iowa communities have received nearly two million dollars in federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration for dental care.
HRSA spokesman, Martin Kramer, says the money is going to facilities in Council Bluffs, Fort Dodge, West Burlington, Urbandale and Ottumwa
“Health centers can use this funding to hire more staff, to increase their capacity to see more patients, to build or expand on oral health facilities in order to make sure that people who go to the health centers –who need oral health care along with high-qaulity primary care — have a place to go,” Kramer says. He says the centers are private and public nonprofits.
Kramer says the federal funding is usually 18-20 percent of the facilities funding. They apply for a grant and the request is reviewed by a committee of experts outside of government.
That review committee assigns a rank to each request for money. “HRSA funds down the rank order list until all the funding has been allocated,” according the Kramer. “So these are health centers who through their applications demonstrated that they have a need and a capacity to see more patients.”
Kramer says oral health problems can be a sign of illness elsewhere in the body, and lack of access to preventive and routine dental care can result in dental conditions requiring more costly emergency dental treatment. “It’s important to have good oral health care and access to good oral health care services in order to maintain overall health,” Kramer says.
The All Care Health Center in Council Bluffs won $350,000, the Community Health Center in Fort Dodge won $525,000, the Community Health Centers of Southeastern Iowa in West Burlington won $350,000, as did Primary Health Incorporated in Urbandale and River Hills Community Health Center in Ottumwa.