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$500K in Grants Will Bring Dental Care to Health Clinics in Michigan

In an effort to expand access to dental care in Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has awarded $500,000 in grants to health clinics and health centers throughout the state.

In an effort to expand access to dental care in Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has awarded $500,000 in grants to health clinics and health centers throughout the state. One of the largest is a $50,000 grant—presented to the Center for Family Health in Jackson—that will be used to integrate dental care into the traditional pediatric health care provided in this setting. The center has hired a dental hygienist as part of the health care team to provide comprehensive dental care.

“Integrating dental care into the medical center is an innovative concept,” Huda Fadel, MPH, PhD, who works for the insurance company on its Social Mission team, tells Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. “However, implementation of a dental hygienist in a health care setting is a big change; a lot of patients don’t anticipate being asked questions about their oral health during a visit to their medical provider.” While it may take patients awhile to become accustomed to a dental hygienist in a pediatric health setting, the approach is effective and efficient—combining what would be two separate visits into one.

In the latest round of oral integration grants, three community health centers received $50,000 or more. These grants are part of a larger BCBSM initiative, in which more than $1 million in grants have been awarded to more than 50 clinics throughout the state. The funds are intended to help fill gaps in access to care for Michigan residents, including those insured by BCBSM, Medicare, or through the Affordable Care Act health exchange. The clinics are expected to reach more than 64,750 state residents.

From Dimensions of Dental HygieneMarch 2017;15(3):16. 

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