Pennsylvania Health Department Awards $1 Million in Community Primary Care

Sept. 5, 2001
Grants will promote recruitment and access to oral health professionals for underserved areas.

On behalf of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, state Health Department Secretary Robert S. Zimmerman, Jr. today announced that eight organizations will receive $1 million in Community Primary Care Challenge Grants to develop and implement medical and dental

clinic services.

"We are pleased to award these grants to improve access to primary care in underserved areas of the Commonwealth," Secretary Zimmerman said. "Families who previously were unable to receive some types of medical and dental treatment now will have improved access to health care services."

The Community Primary Care Challenge Grants are designed to address locally identified health-improvement priorities. The grants are used to promote the recruitment of health care practitioners; to increase clinical capacity and access; to encourage the development of health care systems in underserved areas; to stimulate community-based approaches to this development; and to maximize community participation through local health-improvement partnerships.

This year's award recipients follow:

Allegheny County

-- UPMC Health System-Matilda Theiss Health Center and Child Development Center, $118,892, to hire three part-time dental health professionals, including a dentist, dental resident and dental hygienist;

Bradford County

-- Bradford Regional Medical Center, $125,000, to fund a dental clinic in Bradford;

Columbia County

-- Berwick Health & Wellness Foundation, $125,000, to establish a dental clinic to serve Columbia, Montour and lower Luzerne counties;

Delaware County

-- ChesPenn Health Services Inc., $124,925, to fund an additional dentist specifically for children's dental services;

Franklin County

-- Keystone Rural Health Center, $125,000, to provide increased

obstetric/gynecologic services by hiring a minority obstetrician/gynecologist who speaks Spanish;

Fulton County

-- Fulton County Partnership Inc., $100,000, to fund a dental clinic,

including a full-time dentist, dental hygienist and dental assistant.

This project will operate in conjunction with the current dental

clinic, which currently is open only two days a week;

Lycoming County

-- Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition, $125,000, to fund a full-time dental hygienist to provide preventative care, as well as case management, at Susquehanna Health System's Community Health Center. The funds also will add a dental coordinator to manage dental and office supplies; and

Northumberland County

-- Action Health, $125,000, to fund a dental clinic. The clinic

initially will be open two per week and will gradually expand to four

days per week as needed.

The Community Primary Care Challenge Grants program has awarded 42 grants since it began in 1993. Funds are awarded to non-profit organizations or local governments. Grants are awarded for a 24-month period and require a dollar-for-dollar match from the community. The number of grants awarded each year is based on the

quality of the projects, the number of applications received, and the

availability of funding.

For more information about the Community Primary Care Challenge Grants Program, call the Department of Health's toll-free helpline at

1-877-PA-HEALTH, or visit the department through the PA PowerPort at or directly at

CONTACT: Jessica Smith, Deputy Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 717-787-1783. Web site: