Dental Clinic Preservation and Expansion
Special Projects Fund
September 17, 2009
For more than 40 years, Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC) has provided comprehensive primary and dental care to ethnically diverse, medically underserved neighborhoods around New York City.
When budget cuts forced the City to eliminate its oral health program (OHP) in 2008, LFHC stepped in to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effect of the move. In operation since 1903, OHP was serving approximately 17,000 of the City’s most vulnerable children at the time of its closure. In 2009, NYSHealth awarded LFHC a grant to offset acquisition and startup costs for 12 of the 46 OHP dental clinics based in City public schools, and to make necessary investments in equipment, infrastructure, and health information technology.
The extension of LFHC’s federally qualified health center status to these clinics will support long-term sustainability by providing access to higher reimbursement rates. Under LFHC’s management, these clinics will also experience increased operational capacity and serve more children. NYSHealth funding will be used to make an essential investment in equipment, infrastructure, and health information technology, which will yield improvements in the accessibility, quality, scope, and coordination of care, and create operational efficiencies that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the clinics.