The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded sixteen of Florida’s Community Health Centers $4.6 million in one-time supplemental funding for oral health. On Sept.18, The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced that an $85 million federal grant will support 298 Community Health Centers’ infrastructure enhancements to increase access to new or improved high-quality, integrated oral health services.
Individuals who are low-income or racial or ethnic minorities, pregnant women, older adults, those with special needs, and those who live in rural communities often have a harder time gaining access to a dental provider, and even the basic care they need. According to HRSA’s Health Center Data, patient dental visits at Florida’s Community Health Centers have continually increased over the past three years.
“Oral health services continue to be a priority and these awards will assist community health centers in their efforts to increase access to care in underserved communities throughout Florida. These funds will be used to upgrade equipment, provide more integration between oral health services and primary care at the health centers, and expand service sites across the state”, said Mr. Andrew Behrman, President and CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers.
Community Health Centers play a critical role in addressing health disparities by providing a comprehensive range of services to rural and underserved communities. These awards will improve the early detection of oral diseases, which are critical to preventing future health issues, and increase access to the quality care all Floridians need to stay healthy.