California's largest dental plan has announced its pledge of $100,000 during 2003 in specific support of community dental clinics and programs that serve the working poor.
The pledge was allocated in a series of grants awarded to clinics based in Burbank, Gilroy, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada City, San Luis Obispo and Round Mountain (Shasta County), as well as a network of Northern California clinics based in Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou and Trinity counties.
Delta officials say the grant program earmarks funds for community clinics with established track records delivering dental care to the working poor -- those with household incomes that are often too high to qualify for various state- and federal-subsidized insurance programs, yet still too low to assure that all their oral health needs can be met.
"We are targeting dental clinics that serve people who we know are among the least likely to have dental insurance, and yet are most likely to have an alarmingly high incidence of dental disease," said Marilynn Belek, DMD, Delta Dental's chief dental officer. "Dental disease is rampant, affecting countless families who slip through the safety net that both government entities and many philanthropic organizations are struggling to maintain. We intend for these additional resources, though quite modest given the scope of the problem, to at least help extend that safety net a little farther."
Delta Dental of California is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dental health plan that is also a part of the nationwide Delta Dental Plans Association. Including affiliated operations, the company extends dental insurance to nearly 20 million enrollees, including 6 million beneficiaries of the California State dental Medicaid program, known as Denti-Cal.