Healthy Kids Coalition Fund
Legal-name: Children’s Dental Foundation
Previous-name: (d.b.a. Children’s Dental Health Clinic)
Address: 455 East Columbia Street, Suite 32
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: 501 (c)(3)
Ranking-title: John L. Blake, DDS, Executive Director/Dental Director
First-name: Belinda Wells
Title: Director of Development & Communications
Grant Purpose: We respectfully seek support from the Long Beach Community Foundation in the amount of $3,000 to partially fund our vital Multi-Specialty Pediatric Dental Program to serve patients in Greater Long Beach.
What-is-project: Our Multi-Specialty Pediatric Dental Program provides vital dental treatment to underserved children in Long Beach and greater Long Beach. Our project is a fit because it is an integral part of the City’s safety-net health infrastructure. Where approximately 30% of our patients have special needs or complex medical considerations, such as Asthma, Autism, AIDS/HIV, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome or Sickle Cell Anemia, we remain the only source for specialty dental treatment, because we are the only hospital-based comprehensive dental clinic in Long Beach. Multi-specialty Pediatric Dentists are specially trained to treat young children or children with physical medical and/or behavioral concerns with various levels of Sedation, including treatment using IV Sedation or under general anesthesia in the hospital operating room. The use of IV Sedation is a necessary means of providing quality, trauma-free care for underserved children, who do not usually have access to the care available to their more affluent peers. Once a very young child is identified with extensive disease, often in three or four quadrants of the mouth, IV Sedation is a cost effective way to provide safe, monitored (by the Dentist Anesthesiologist) deep sedation, and is typically provided to children who are 0-8 years of age and to older children (to age 21) who have special physical, medical and/or behavioral concerns necessitating treatment under sedation.
We continue to face the challenges of being among the very few dental providers accepting Denti-Cal and able to provide multi-specialty, hospital-based dental treatment for special needs and medically complex patients. The only other providers of similar services for underserved children are the dental schools in Los Angeles based at USC and UCLA, and at Rancho Los Amigos located in Downey—all of which face waiting-list issues. As a result, we remain inundated with children in need of our services, especially while so many FQHC’s are providing only basic dental treatment, and are identifying more dental disease through their preventive and screening services.
Children living with untreated dental disease are suffering from chronic toothaches and painful abscesses. They cannot eat, drink or sleep normally, have trouble focusing in school and miss more school days as a result of dental pain. According to the 2018 California Report Card from Children Now, which gave Oral Care a C-, “California has the second worst rate in the nation when it comes to oral health problems in elementary aged children,” and “little progress has been made to improve oral health outcomes for kids enrolled in Medi-Cal, who make up more than half of California’s kids.”
All of our patients, ages 0-21, are living at/or below 266% FPL, or have issues in access to care in the Greater Long Beach area. More than 90% of our patients have Denti-Cal, and 30% have special needs, and/or complex mental and/or medical considerations.
How-will-you-succeed: We will be able to measure our project’s success based on our ability to meet the following objectives:
1. Provide up to 3,200 patients with Multi-Specialty Pediatric Dental Treatment over one year, inclusive of:
a. Up to 200 underserved children with treatment under IV Sedation at the Main Clinic in our Specialty Care Area, including children with special needs and/or complex medical considerations.
b. Up to 200 underserved children with treatment under General Anesthesia in the Operating Room setting, including children with special needs and/or complex medical considerations.
2. Promote health literacy and development of healthy habits in oral health and nutrition by providing 100% of patients and caregivers with Oral Health Education and an Oral Health Kit that is provided in the language spoken at home.
Our comprehensive patient data management software, Dentrix, allows for the acquisition, storage, and transmission of digital imaging, patient charts, and reports. Our Dental Director/Executive Director works closely with staff to assess progress and impact, based on the program objectives and outcomes. Our management team meets regularly with staff and the Board of Directors to report on activities and evaluate our progress and impact, referring to measurable goals of programmatic work-plans. As the metrics that will be used to measure success, data collected from Dentrix will be used to evaluate the number of children served and type of treatment provided.
In addition, as we strive towards sustainability, our Executive Director Dr. John Blake continues to advocate for the oral health of children at the State and National levels through his roles with the California Dental Association (CDA) and as a delegate of the American Dental Association. Advocacy efforts with the CDA have been the driving force behind recent appropriation of Proposition 56 dollars to supplement Denti-Cal’s unsustainable reimbursement rates, and we are beginning to see an increase in reimbursement rates. The 40% increase pertains to certain procedure codes and not all; and we must continue to raise additional funds to supplement costs. Also helpful to our efforts is the recent increase in reimbursement rates for patient exams to special needs patients. However, we have yet to see consistent reimbursement payments to reflect these positive changes, and we will still need to seek funding to help offset up to 50% of our costs. Our strong Development efforts will continue to seek funding support from individuals, foundations, and organizations.
Who-are-you: The Children’s Dental Health Clinic (CDHC) was founded in 1932, among the very first Long Beach non-profit organizations. Our founder Dr. Robert Anderson, a dental surveyor with Long Beach Schools, reported an increasing prevalence of dental disease in our community’s school children. He was moved to provide accessible dental care to needy children. In 1932, Dr. Anderson was able to secure a trailer, convert it into a small dental clinic, and made his way from school to school.
Today, the CDHC provides underserved children, ages 0-21, with dental services that include General and Pediatric Dentistry, Preventive Dentistry, Oral Hygiene Education, Orthodontia, Endodontia, Periodontia, as well as Oral Surgery and treatment with Oral or Intravenous Sedation (IV Sedation) in the Specialty Care area. We provide treatment under General Anesthesia in the Operating Rooms of the Miller Children’s Hospital, where our dentists have privileges. We are fully integrated with Medical Specialists of the Miller Children’s Hospital to ensure care of the “whole child,” serving on the Cleft-Palate, Hematology, and Oncology teams of the Hospital. We treat routine to complex cases, including those in need of dental clearance for life-saving treatment, and patients with cranio-facial/cleft palate development challenges. Additionally, the CDHC is a premier training site for USC Dental Residents in Pediatric Dentistry, Oral Surgery, and General Dentistry. Our Pediatric Dental Residents are on-call with the Hospital ER 24/7. The CDHC also serves as a training site for Registered Dental Hygienists and Registered Dental Assistants with community colleges.
In addition, the core strengths of our organization lies in the mission driven staff and passionate leadership. Our Executive Director, Dr. John Blake, has served the CDHC as a volunteer, Board President, and Dental Director. He continues to be a voice at the State level, volunteering as an advocate for the dental health of all of California’s children. While holding a dual role as Executive Director and Dental Director, Dr. Blake also continues to work with our patients, including treating children with special needs in the Hospital Operating Room. As a dentist, administrator, and leader for dental health policy, Dr. Blake continues to ignite a grass-roots level of compassion, combined with a larger scope of understanding of dentistry and overall health. His leadership inspires our organization’s staff, board and volunteers towards the mission and vision of the CDHC.
Our Mission is to deliver oral health education and comprehensive treatment for economically disadvantaged children, including those with complex medical considerations, while also providing premier training in pediatric and multi-specialty dentistry. Our Vision is to see that all children grow up with healthy, confident smiles.