In 2016 it was extremely difficult for a low-income individual living in and around Cedar Rapids, IA to access dental care. According to a report by Linn County Public Health, 45% of low-income adults living in East Central Iowa had not had a dental service in the past year. Additionally, the report highlighted that in 2014 only 51% of Medicaid enrolled children between the ages of 1 – 20 received dental services, including urgent services to treat decay.
After learning of the extraordinary need, Eastern Iowa Health Center decided to tackle the issue of access to care for the underserved population head-on. In 2016, with lead gifts from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and the Hall-Perrine Foundation, EIHC purchased the land and building adjacent to the EIHC primary health care and pediatrics office in Cedar Rapids to create the Eastern Iowa Dental Center. Following months of renovation, the dental center opened to patients in March 2017. In the first three months of operation, EIDC dentists, hygienists and assistants have provided oral healthcare to over 800 patients in 1,539 encounters. The majority of dental center patients live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and are insured by Medicaid.
The proximity of the dental center to the primary care office strengthens the mission and patient-centered focus of Eastern Iowa Health Center. Patients with an urgent dental need visiting their primary care provider can often be seen by a dentist the same day. Additionally, EIDC is committed to establishing good dental hygiene practices from an early age and works directly with pediatricians to help establish a dental home for children by the age of one. The dental center has created an EIHC healthcare campus that focuses on providing quality care to the most vulnerable and at-risk populations living in East Central Iowa.
Currently EIDC is a six-chair dental office that provides preventive and restorative oral healthcare services, however, the dental center has the space to expand to eight chairs. It is the goal of EIHC to fully outfit EIDC and provide oral surgery services in the near future.
The dental center, which opened in March 2017, is the result of numerous donations and gifts in-kind; the leadership and Board of Directors of EIHC would like to thank the following supporters: Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, Hall-Perrine Foundation, AEGON-Transamerica Foundation, Diamond V Community Health Free Clinic, Dr. Curtis Livengood, Van Meter Donor-Advised Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, DeeAnn McIntyre, McGrath Automotive Group of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Van Meter Donor-Advised Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Henry Schein, Primus Construction and Daybreak Rotary.
Eastern Iowa Health Center