Delta Dental COVID-19 Funding to Clinics
Delta Dental of Virginia, the largest dental benefits provider in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is giving a total of $500,000 statewide in support of the continued operation of free clinics with safety net dental services in light of COVID-19.
“Safety net clinics are the only source many Virginians have to receive critical dental treatment. Those needs can't be put on hold, and it's so important that operations continue during this time. Delta Dental of Virginia is humbled to be in a position to help ensure that communities continue to have access to the care they need,” reports Frank Lucia, President and CEO with Delta Dental of Virginia.
Amounts were based on number of dental patients served and ranged from $10,000 to $22,000 in unrestricted grant funds to 27 free clinics across the state. “I cannot begin to tell you how important these funds are at this time,” states Jennifer Tomar with Park Place Health and Dental Clinic in Norfolk. “It will allow us to maintain our essential employees and continue to see patients in need of emergency care.”
In normal times, free and charitable clinics provide regular health services to some 65,000 uninsured or underinsured Virginian each year, patients who rely on the clinics as a safety net for a range of medical, pharmacy, vision and behavioral health services in addition to dental. However, in these unprecedented times free and charitable clinics across the state are experiencing unexpected financial burdens related to COVID-19, putting additional strain on already limited budgets.
“This funding is critical for clinics to continue providing vital healthcare for thousands of Virginians,” reports Rufus Phillips, the CEO of the Virginia Association for Free and Charitable Clinics. “We are extremely grateful for this generous support and hope it serves as a model for others to follow.”
Free and charitable clinics across the state are facing the immediate threat of a pandemic that is likely to hit their patients — the lower-income, uninsured and chronically ill — particularly hard. At the same time they face volunteer and personal protective equipment shortages, canceled fundraisers and the prospect of an increased demand for their services as the economy weakens and more people lose their jobs.