Delta Dental of Minnesota Awards Funding to Northern Dental Access Center

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Delta Dental of Minnesota and its Philanthropy Committee have approved an award of $10,000 to support Northern Dental Access Center. Funds will be used to support necessary equipment replacement at Northern Dental Access Center, a community access dental clinic serving low income individuals and families in northwest Minnesota.

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"Northern Dental Access Center is making great strides in addressing the health disparities among vulnerable people in this rural part of the state," said Ann Johnson, Executive Director and Community Affairs Director for Delta Dental of Minnesota.

Delta Dental of Minnesota and its Philanthropy Committee have approved an award of $10,000 to support Northern Dental Access Center. Delta Dental of Minnesota is a statewide leader in the provision of dental health benefits and focuses its corporate philanthropic efforts on programs that promote oral health.

Funds will be used to support necessary equipment replacement at Northern Dental Access Center, a community access dental clinic serving low income individuals and families in northwest Minnesota. “It’s a huge relief,” says Jeanne Edevold Larson, Northern Dental Executive Director. “After serving more than 15,000 people, the wear and tear on our equipment has become an issue far sooner than we ever expected. And while it’s not very exciting, these funds will help purchase a new compressor system which is at the heart of all the dental tools used for every procedure. It’s become unreliable and is too small to handle our increased patient load, and without it, our services would stand still.”

Northern Dental Access Center, a nonprofit organization, opened in 2009 as a community response to a shortage of dental care available for people enrolled in Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care. Founders worked many years to raise funds and design the Center, located at 1405 Anne Street NW. Patients travel from 100 miles to Bemidji, and in 2011, 9,900 patients were served; a 30% increase is predicted for 2012.

“It’s not surprising that Northern Dental Access Center’s facility is experiencing stress,” says Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Executive Director and Community Affairs Director, Ann Johnson. “Delta Dental of Minnesota has been a proud supporter of their work since the beginning; it is our goal to increase access to care, and Northern Dental Access Center is making great strides in addressing the health disparities among vulnerable people in this rural part of the state.”

Northern Dental Access Center is governed by an eleven-member board of directors, employs twenty five full time employees and provides dental care 75 patients every weekday. Additional support services such as transportation, child supervision, insurance counseling and mental health screenings are also provided, to address barriers to care that people may face.

“I’m afraid this is only the beginning of our replacement needs,” says Edevold Larson. “What we thought would last ten years, is wearing out in four; the Board will need to explore ways to modify future financial decisions and hopefully, it can be done without too many operational cuts.”

About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation – Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Delta Dental is a registered mark of Delta Dental Plans Association. Delta Dental of Minnesota is an independent nonprofit dental services company and is an authorized licensee of the Delta Dental Plans Association of Oak Brook, Illinois. For more information, visit http://www.deltadentalmn.org

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