Pacific Hospital PDA Announces:
Expanded Support for Dental Care Case Management
SEATTLE, May 9, 2012 -- Today the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority (Pacific Hospital PDA) announced a grant for $68,143 awarded to Project Access Northwest (formerly King County Project Access) to provide case management services for more than 700 low-income, uninsured dental patients in 2012-2013.
This grant provides second-year funding for a 2011 pilot project developed in partnership with Seattle-King County Dental Society (SKCDS) and the Seattle-King County Dental Foundation (SKCDF). The program has a two-fold focus: dental extractions for patients referred by the safety net clinics in King County and dental care for kidney transplant patients.
Patients served by the safety net community health centers and Public Health Seattle & King County sometimes need specialty dental care for complex extractions. The 2012-13 grant continues this program, which was initiated in 2011-12. The safety net clinics refer these patients through Project Access Northwest, who coordinates their care at the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic.
Before patients with kidney disease can be placed on a transplant list, they must have their oral health needs resolved. Volunteer dentists provide the care for dental clearance. SKCDS worked closely with Northwest Kidney Center to develop a case management pilot project for these patients. The pilot was successful and the Pacific Hospital PDA and SKCDS worked together to move the case management to Project Access Northwest.
Dental and oral health problems can be a risk factor for a number of medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and low-birth weight babies. Without regular dental care, oral health problems can become severe, requiring root canals or complex extractions. Many of these patients end up in our local emergency departments. In fact, a 2007 Washington State Hospital Association study found that dental care problems were one of the top three reasons for emergency department visits among uninsured and Medicaid patients.
In 2011, the Washington State Legislature eliminated Medicaid funding for nearly all preventive and restorative dental care for adults.
"The need for dental care in our community has become even more critical," said Rosemary Aragon, Executive Director of the Pacific Hospital PDA. "We are delighted to support this expanded program to significantly increase the number of patients who can be referred for dental appointments through Project Access Northwest."
In 2011, 100 patients were referred to Project Access (97% were uninsured). Due to the grant from Pacific Hospital PDA, Project Access Northwest estimates more than 700 uninsured dental patients can receive appointments through their case management services in 2012-2013.