Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation: The three pillars, part 1 of 3

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December 5th, 2016

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Pillar 1: Access to Care -Safety Net Clinic Support

Each year, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation grants millions of dollars to organizations and programs that help expand access to quality dental care across Minnesota. This goal is our driving mission. A large part of increasing access to care means investing in safety net clinics – clinics that serve populations who otherwise would not be able to receive care. Our recent grants that support direct care include continued leadership funding for the Minnesota Mission of Mercy weekend event, held this past July in Moorhead; support for a free clinic in Goodhue County, and a mobile clinic which visits homeless shelters and nursing homes.

While these efforts are effective for one-time dental care needs, the foundation searched for opportunities to fund more permanent care options for enrollees in public programs, the poor and the uninsured. In 2015 and 2016, expanding the capacity of nonprofit safety net clinics to provide dental care became a strategic goal of the foundations to increase access overall. Among these efforts are large grants to Hennepin County Medical Center ($4.6 million) and to Community Dental Care for their new Rochester clinic ($1 million). Each initiative helps meet an identified and growing patient need. Other clinical support from the foundation has been directed to Faribault, Mankato, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Northfield, St. Paul and Staples. Combined with prior DDMN Foundation clinic investments, these grants will open more than 100,000 patient visits annually. In order for these clinics to be self-sustaining in the long term, they will need to generate more revenue for the valuable services they provide to the poorest Minnesotans. We hope the State of Minnesota will reconsider its funding for public program reimbursement, which remains among the lowest in the country. In the meantime, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is excited about these new clinics and the significant expanded access to care for Minnesotans in need. To learn about dental care statistics in your county, go to the State of Minnesota’s Department of Health oral health website, also funded through grants from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.