Molokaʻi Community Health receives $1.6M in federal funding to expand dental care
Molokaʻi Community Health Center has received Community Project Funding in the amount of $1,664,000 from the recently passed $1.7 trillion federal spending bill for the expansion of dental services.
Funds will be used to renovate the Center’s dental clinic to add three new dental operatories, flexible dental/hygiene/office spaces for increased staff and senior dental hygiene students, an enlarged patient waiting area, state of the art dental equipment and a multi-tiered air sanitization system.
The new clinic space will double patient access to dental services and accommodate three full-time dental/hygiene providers to address the overwhelming increase in demand for oral hygiene and dentistry services island wide.
“We are grateful to Congressman Kahele for supporting our efforts to expand advanced dental care for the people of Molokaʻi,” said Helen Kekalia, CEO of Molokaʻi Community Health Center. “With consistent year-to-year growth of new patients, these dollars are critical to increasing the size of our current dental clinic and practice that will allow us to provide for the growing needs of residents regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Long-term, this expanded space will support our efforts to diversify our oral health workforce and create a pipeline of providers to offer place-based care for our community.”
“I am delighted that the Molokaʻi Community Health Center was selected as a recipient for Fiscal Year 2023 Community Project Funding in the amount of $1,664,000,” said Congressman Kai Kahele. “On March 14, 2022, I conducted a site visit of the Health Center and met with CEO Helen Kekalia Wescoatt and other members of the Executive Leadership Team. The comprehensive health care services that the Molokaʻi Community Health Center provides are critical to the community and to the residents of Molokaʻi that it serves. This federal funding will support the vision that Helen and her team have for the expansion of services and facilities at the center, and aligns with our office’s goal of supporting rural community health centers throughout Hawaiʻi’s 2nd Congressional District. I look forward to their continued growth and I am grateful for all they do for our Molokaʻi families.”
Oral health in Hawaiʻi has become a critical public health issue, particularly among the Native Hawaiian population and residents in rural and neighbor island communities. Research shows that untreated dental problems can often lead to major illnesses and even death. Access is key for Molokaʻi families to receive proper dental care and oral hygiene to contribute to good health and overall wellbeing.
Molokaʻi Community Health Center is a community-based health organization integrating primary medical and dental care with behavioral health, wellness, health education and prevention including the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children.
MCHC has been recognized for its quality of care as a recipient of the HRSA’s Quality Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for four successive years.