L.A. Care, a public insurance plan that covers more than 2 million people, mostly low-income residents living in Los Angeles County, announced last week it awarded a share of an $800,000 oral health initiative grant to a Glendale nonprofit as a way to boost dental care to underserved people in the area.
Comprehensive Community Health Center in Glendale was one of eight healthcare facilities given $100,000 as a way to both fund projects that would increase dental services in areas deficient in that type of care as well as provide dental care to people with developmental disabilities.
Toyin Idehen, director of development and community engagement, said the grant will help fulfill the organization’s goal to enroll 1,500 patients under the age of 20 and provide them with at least one dental visit a year.
The Glendale facility also aims to link up to 400 primary-care patients to dental care, and at least 35% of children ages 6 to 9 who are at moderate to high risk for cavities will receive a sealant on a first permanent molar, Idehen said.
“With the grant, we want to hire community dental coordinators to conduct outreach to partners and [the] community to offer oral-health education … and have them come back to the clinic,” Idehen said. “We also want to screen kids off site and link them to our clinic.”
Other plans include rearranging the clinic to provide more comfort for younger patients by adding new “inviting” colors and hiding some of the equipment that appears more menacing, Idehen said.
According to L.A. Care, the public insurance plan has provided more than $12 million for 130 projects that provide oral health infrastructure, education, prevention and treatment services to low-income communities since 2003.