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Delta Dental Community Care Foundation adds third partnership to its Senior Oral Health Program

Delta Dental Community Care Foundation team with representatives from San Diego partnership in Oakland, CA.

The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is expanding its Senior Oral Health Partnership Program by committing an additional $5 million over the next five years to a consortium led by Health Quality Partners of Southern California, a subsidiary of Health Center Partners of Southern California, a regional primary care association. This monumental grant is part of a broader strategy that includes more than $15 million dedicated to senior oral health partnerships and initiatives.

Since its launch in April 2022, the Senior Oral Health Partnership Program has sought to transform access to quality oral health care for vulnerable seniors. By forming and funding localized collaborations, the program supports the development of innovative approaches and expansion of oral health services. Additionally, program partners collect data on community needs and successes, which is used to inform the Delta Dental Senior Oral Health Care Model.

Why are we focusing on senior oral health?

  • Oral health access for older adults is an urgent and growing crisis.
  • By 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older, according to  U.S. Census data.
  • A survey commissioned by Delta Dental of California and affiliates found that 80% of older American adults do not go to the dentist as often as recommended, and access is one of the main barriers.
  • In fact, one in three older adults surveyed later said they cannot afford to see a dentist regularly.
  • Not only that, but more than half of older adults do not have dental benefit coverage.

As members of the Senior Oral Health Partnership Program, the San Diego partnership will collaborate with the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation to provide dental help for seniors, particularly for seniors of color,  who experience the most pronounced challenges to receiving oral health care.

Our San Diego partners and their community impact

Health Quality Partners is a nonprofit organization established in 1997 to advance health equity and wellness in Southern California communities through collaborative research, resource development and implementation of a broad array of clinical and non-clinical programs. The organizations participating in the Senior Oral Health Partnership include Federally Qualified Health Centers: Community Health Systems, Inc., Imperial Beach Community Clinic, Indian Health Council, Neighborhood Healthcare, San Ysidro Health, Father Joe’s Villages and Vista Community Clinic, as well as the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Medical Care Services. Together in 2022, the seven participating health centers served 51,977 patients 60 years of age or older, of whom 10,757 (21%) had at least one dental visit.

Progress of our senior care partners in Washington, D.C. and Santa Cruz

Existing partners from Washington, D.C., Howard University College of Dentistry and Mary’s Center, and from Santa Cruz County, Dientes Community Dental Care and Salud Para La Gente, have already served more than 6,000 senior patients, 87% of whom fall below the federal poverty level, demonstrating the program’s impact and the vital role of strategic partnerships in addressing senior health needs.

If you would like to learn more, read our full press release  here.