After a multi-year hiatus stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDA Foundation will host its first community dental clinic using a newly adopted model Saturday, Aug. 17, in Long Beach, California, and volunteer dental care providers and dental homes can sign up now.
This evolution of the CDA Cares clinic model offers several distinct advantages and opportunities for patients, care providers and dental students. The Foundation’s clinics are transitioning from one-time episodic care events to events focused on placing patients into dental homes that will meet their extensive and long-term oral health care needs.
Like CDA Cares events in the past, the new clinic model will demonstrate to policymakers the equity and access challenges in the state. Among these challenges are a maldistribution of dentists, a dental team workforce shortage, gaps in Medi-Cal benefits and reimbursements and inadequacies in patients’ dental coverage from dental benefit plans. The state’s lack of sufficient care facilities and providers for patients with special needs is an additional challenge. These factors undermine equity in access to care, especially for the state’s most vulnerable populations.
Clinic volunteers and dental home providers needed
With the new clinic format, volunteer opportunities will also change significantly to include two categories of participation:
- One-day clinic volunteer
- Dental home provider
The clinic in Long Beach will aim to serve approximately 100 patients and place them into dental homes for ongoing and complete oral health care.
To provide these services, the Foundation intends to recruit approximately 15 dentists, 30 dental assistants and 10 dental hygienists to volunteer their time for the one-day clinic. An orientation will be held for all volunteers prior to the clinic. Volunteers will provide minimally invasive services and will address any urgent pain or infections that present during the clinic. The placement of patients into a dental home may allow for preventive, follow-up and ongoing restorative care.
The Foundation is also seeking Medi-Cal-enrolled providers in the Harbor Dental Society area to assume the ongoing care of one or more patients who receive dental services at the Long Beach clinic.
Patient health records from the clinic will be provided to dental homes to help the treating dentist develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Patients will also receive information on how to use free transportation for dental appointments as well as translation services, both of which are available to Medi-Cal patients to address transportation and language barriers to accessing dental care.
Dental home providers may be eligible for one-time supplemental payments for services provided to these patients. Additional details on this program will be announced this spring.
Sign up to volunteer for the Long Beach clinic or to be a dental home provider.