Prism Health North Texas has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) via the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C Capacity Development Funding program. The grant was sought to, and will now be used to, acquire new dental equipment in order to increase the number of patients the organization is able to care for at its three existing dental practice offices. Prism Health North Texas acquired these offices earlier in 2022, hoping to meet the need for affordable and accessible dental care in North Texas.
PHNTX was particularly determined to add dental care to its available services because of the particularly negative impacts a lack of regular dental care has on those living with HIV. Lack of insurance, dental provider capacity, financial resources, stigma, and awareness contribute to barriers related to dental services.
According to the Dallas 2019 Ryan White Needs Assessment, dental services need to increase capacity significantly, as at the time, there were only two area Ryan White-funded organizations offering dental services with a wait time of up to fifty days. The Ryan White Planning Council of the Dallas Area ranks dental services as the number one core medical services priority for both base and Minority AIDS Initiative funding.
“Since officially joining Prism Health North Texas, we have observed increases in efficiency, employee satisfaction, and the number of patients we are able to care for,” said Dorothy Jones, Director of Prism Health North Texas Dental Care. “This grant will allow us to purchase essential equipment that will enable us to care for more of the Dallas community in need of dental care, including pediatric patients and those living with HIV.”
According to research by the Texas Health Institute, 17% of Texans do not have health insurance and 54% of Texas adults have had tooth loss due to dental caries or periodontal disease. Oral healthcare is often inaccessible because of cost, even for those with dental insurance coverage. Prism Health North Texas aims to make affordable dental care more acceptable to North Texans through the acquisition of this new equipment.
“Even with insurance, dental care is in the higher cost range of most healthcare,” Jones added. “Many patients delay care because they aren’t sure if they can access it without insurance, especially when the insurance itself is expensive, causing existing issues to escalate in the meantime. Prism Health North Texas Dental Care offers an affordable option for those without insurance, helping them get access to the care they need when they need it.”