Arcora Foundation announces $4 million to support safety net and tribal dental clinics impacted by COVID-19

Arcora Foundation, the foundation of Delta Dental of Washington, announced the distribution of $4 million in grants to safety net and tribal dental clinics impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding, they say, will help prevent the loss of oral health care for tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, dental providers in Washington were required to shutdown non-urgent care. According to Arcora, this resulted in a 90% reduction in dental services at community health centers (CHCs), non-profit clinics, and tribal clinics. Similar to many providers in the state, the reduction in services created significant financial hardships as clinics exhausted their financial reserves and were forced to cut staff.

 

 

According to an April analysis commissioned by the Washington Association for Community Health, 16 of Washington’s 27 CHCs may be forced to close by mid-September due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. This equates to over 610,000 patients losing their primary service provider. Without emergency funding or operational adjustments, the analysis forecasts a potential $473 million loss in overall CHC revenue across medical, dental, and behavioral health services.

“Oral health is essential to overall health, and these clinics are the safety net many communities need to have access to care,” said Arcora Foundation President and CEO Vanetta Abdellatif in a statement. “The pandemic has already reduced access, which can have far-reaching consequences on people’s health, the workforce and the economy. We are committed to minimizing these negative impacts by helping the safety net clinics during this difficult time. They are essential for health equity.”

Support for these clinics will become even more critical in coming months as Medicaid enrollment is expected to surge in Washington. An April forecast from Health Management Associates predicts Washington could see up to 546,000 new Medicaid enrollees due to the economic downturn stemming from the pandemic.

“We felt this was an important time to augment our annual contribution to Arcora Foundation,” said Delta Dental of Washington Chief Mission Officer Diane Oakes. “Arcora is supporting clinics that provide vital oral health services for people across Washington. These clinics must be sustained especially as the need for health services continues to grow.”

The list of non-profit dental clinics and CHCs receiving funding include:

  • Community Health of Central Washington
  • Community Health Center of Snohomish County
  • Community Health Care Tacoma
  • Country Doctor
  • Free Clinic of Southwest Washington
  • Grace Clinic
  • HealthPoint
  • International Community Health Services
  • Lahai Health
  • Lindquist Dental Clinic for Children
  • Neighborcare Health
  • North Olympic Healthcare Network
  • Northeast Washington Health
  • Peninsula Community Health Services
  • SeaMar
  • Upper Valley MEND
  • Valley View Health Center
  • Yakima Neighborhood Health Services

Arcora Foundation says it will finalize the specific grants to tribal clinics in the coming weeks.