The grant allows the community health center to provide essential dental care to more low-income patients throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
September 12, 2022, SILVER SPRING, MD – Community health center CCI Health Services announced today that the organization received a $50,000 grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the largest not-for-profit health plan in the mid-Atlantic region, to provide dental services to residents living on low-incomes within Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The funding, which began in July and ends in May 2023, covers the cost of crowns and denture installations for patients who would otherwise be unable to afford the procedures in standard healthcare settings. The award will also provide CCI the opportunity to further empower patients through oral health education.
“Cost remains a significant barrier to care in the community,” said Nakia Coleman, CCI’s Dental Manager. “Far too many residents have debilitating dental issues left untreated because they cannot afford to visit the dentist. Thanks to CareFirst, quality dental care is now within reach for our neighbors in need.”
According to the AMA Journal of Ethics, individuals living below 200% of the federal poverty level are more likely to have untreated dental caries and fewer permanent teeth. In 2018, 18.1% of Montgomery County and 24.2% of Prince George’s County lived 200% below the poverty line. In 2020, 98% of CCI’s patients met that threshold.
Cavities, periodontal disease, and general health are intrinsically linked, which makes it imperative that dental care and primary care interventions are offered in an integrated, team-based environment. A recent study linked gum disease to hypertension. Participants with gum disease were twice as likely to have high blood pressure than those with healthy gums.
“Restorative dentistry is used to combat a number of oral health issues and restore the teeth to a functional and healthy state. It improves a patient’s lifestyle, self-confidence, overall health, and well-being and helps prevent the need for future extensive dental procedures,” says Dr. Leila Seyedsalari, CCI dentist.
“Dental care is essential to overall health and well-being, but many of our communities still don’t have equal access to these services,” said Mike Rapach, president & CEO of CareFirst Community Health Plan Maryland. “This grant will enable CCI to best serve our communities and further equitable dental services while also improving health education and outreach to our neighbors in Prince George’s and Montgomery County.”
About CCI Health Services: Founded in 1972, CCI Health Services is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides quality and affordable health care to patients in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. In addition, CCI empowers underserved populations and advocates for a more equitable health care system.
About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield: In its 85th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.6 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2021, CareFirst invested $26.2 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety, and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com and our transforming healthcare page at www.carefirst.com/transformation, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.