2,500 Children Have Received Grant-Funded Dental Care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
$2.5 Million Was Provided by HRSA to Modernize Outpatient Dental Care Services
Mar 22, 2018
NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx have provided dental care to 2,500 children who might otherwise not have received care over the past two years, thanks to grant funding received from the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the Affordable Care Act. Focused on preventing and detecting oral disorders, starting treatment earlier, and reinforcing good oral hygiene practices, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration granted the hospitals $2.5 million to expand their pediatric dental clinics and integrate the practices with primary care.
Tooth decay is the most prevalent childhood disease, affecting more youngsters than asthma or hay fever. This issue is particularly prevalent in low-income communities, as dental services generally aren’t provided under Medicaid and other public health insurance programs. According to a report from the American Journal of Public Health in 2005, more than half of low-income children without health insurance had no preventive dental care.
This began to change in 2007, following the tragic death of a 12-year-old boy in Maryland, who suffered a brain infection that originated as a tooth infection—a death that many believe would have been preventable with routine dental care. As a result of the boy’s death, SCHIP was expanded in 2009 to include dental benefits.
These benefits were then included as essential health care requirements in the Affordable Care Act. To maximize the impact of these services, the Health Resources and Services Administration established funding sources to help facilities obtain the capital to modernize their facilities.
Following receipt of grant funding in 2015, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx were able to make a number of improvements to better serve their patients. They were able to recruit and employ two additional pediatric dental residents in addition to dental assistants and a registered dental hygienist. They equipped two new operatories at NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx to expand outpatient care. They expanded hours to provide additional access to care. And they coordinated programming and expansion of educational opportunities to the hospitals’ Women’s Infants and Children program and to the Illyria Clinic (dedicated to the Albanian community) at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, as well as through collaborations with Sapna, a community-based organization serving the South Asian community in the Castle Hill and Parkchester neighborhoods.
These improvements have resulted in over 2,500 high-risk children receiving care over the past two years, a major milestone in dental care for the Bronx and for public health overall.
“This grant and the great work done by our dental team represent the commitment of our health system to provide world-class outpatient care to all New Yorkers,” said Christopher Mastromano, executive director of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi.
“These funds have been vital in expanding our outreach at both NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx, as well as to increasing our ability to serve populations in need of dental services,” said Nadia Laniado, DDS, MPH, of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi’s Dentistry Department. “Evidence shows that it’s critical that children establish a dental home by their first birthday in order to maintain good dental health. By collaborating with our partners and primary care, we are helping more families achieve this goal.”
“This HRSA funding has allowed us to expand services and provide cultural sensitivity training to our residents so that they might better understand the needs of our patients,” said Victor Badner, DMD, chair of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi’s Dental Department.
Overall, since 2016, more than 13,000 patients of all ages have received dental care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and more than 9,000 have received such care at NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx.
Those interested in scheduling a dental appointment for their children should contact NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi at (718) 918-3422 or at (718) 918-5636.