OAK BROOK, Ill. (PRWEB) July 11, 2018
Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) announced today a $2 million grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry to build a Pediatric Dentistry Ambulatory Surgery Center with two General Anesthesia suites and five procedure rooms. The UIC College of Dentistry has become the largest safety net for underserved children in Illinois, many of whom need dental care under general anesthesia. There currently is a wait list of over 1,300 children, representing a wait of two or more years because of limited access to operating rooms.
The grant will allow the UIC College of Dentistry to serve an additional 1,000 pediatric patients annually who require oral health services under general anesthesia and an additional 1,520 pediatric patients who need to receive services under sedation. The critical shortage of dental operatories for children on Medicaid was identified in the ILCHF, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and Michael Reese Health Trust commissioned report, Oral Health in Illinois, released in December 2016.
“Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease in the United States, disproportionally affecting minority, low-income, disabled, and chronically ill children, “ explained Bob Egan, Sr. Program Officer Oral Health, ILCHF. “Left untreated tooth decay can become excruciatingly painful, making it difficult to eat, sleep, or concentrate in school.”
Young children and children with special needs often require sedation to have dental procedures done. Nearly one-third of UIC dental patients have chronic health conditions. Ninety-seven percent are at or below the poverty line and covered for dental care by Medicaid.
“Far too many Illinois children don’t receive the dental care they need,” said Heather Alderman, President of the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation. “This situation is unconscionable when you consider how treatable and preventable these diseases are.”
Construction for the new $3.3M facility will begin November 2018 and become operational spring 2019. ILCHF provided $2M and UIC raised the additional funds from a number of other sources.
“On behalf of everyone at the UIC College of Dentistry, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation on this transformational grant that will allow us to create a state-of-the-science Pediatric Dentistry Ambulatory Surgery Center,” said Dr. Clark Stanford, Dean, UIC College of Dentistry. “The Pediatric Dentistry Ambulatory Surgery Center will have a profound impact on the delivery of oral healthcare to children in Chicago and throughout the State of Illinois for generations to come.“
ILCHF began investing in children’s oral health programs in 2004 as a part of its strategy to make comprehensive health services available to all children in Illinois. The Children’s Oral health Initiative addresses one of the most significant unmet health care needs facing Illinois children. In collaboration with the oral health community, ILCHF adopted the following oral health vision:
“All children in Illinois have access to high-quality oral health services in their communities and a new culture of awareness exists throughout the state about the interconnection of oral health and overall health.”
To date ILCHF has committed over $30 million to children’s oral health programs across the state designed to:
- Build and strengthen the capacity of the safety net system to deliver high-quality services.
- Increase the number of health professionals caring for underserved children.
- Create a greater awareness of the role that oral health plays in a child’s overall health.
About Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) is the only statewide private foundation solely focused on improving the health of all children in the State of Illinois. ILCHF was created in December 2002 through an action of then Attorney General Jim Ryan and an Illinois insurance carrier. This action and a settlement of approximately $125 million established the Foundation’s endowment. For additional information about ILCHF, please see http://www.ilchf.org.