Natchitoches/Vernon/Madison – Outpatient Medical Center Inc. (OMC) was one of three Federally Qualified Health Centers to receive the Oral Health Infrastructure Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The purpose of the grant is to support infrastructure enhancements that will enable health centers to provide new or enhance existing high quality, integrated oral health services. HRSA only accepts applications for those Health Centers that are recipients of the Health Center Program Award. OMC Inc. is a federally qualified health center (FQHC). A FQHC is a community-based organization that provides comprehensive primary care and preventive care, including health, oral, and mental health/substance abuse services to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. OMC Inc. currently provides dental services in three of its five health centers locations, Tallulah, Natchitoches and Leesville. The dental departments in each health center are rapidly growing.
OMC Inc. prides itself on serving the underserved. The Louisiana Department of Health released a Louisiana Oral Health Workforce Assessment that stated “Many populations with the highest disease burden, such as low-income, minority and rural, remain with inadequate access to preventive services and unmet need (Patrick et al., 2006).” OMC Inc. has served 3,122 dental patients across the state within a 7 month period.
Outpatient Medical Center Inc.’s dental department currently offers the following services: fillings, extractions, dentures, oral exams and teeth cleanings. The Oral Health Infrastructure Grant awarded OMC Inc. $300,000. The funds will be used to update each of our dental departments. Dr. Cliff Davis, Chief Dental Officer at OMC Inc., said “We will use the funds to upgrade each of our three facilities to utilize all digital imaging (X-rays). Our Natchitoches facility will benefit from new patient chairs and delivery systems. We will also upgrade our dental operating software significantly.” When ask, what can the public expect to notice from the changes made using the funds? Dr. Davis responded “Patients will notice more thoughtful scheduling which will result in shorter wait times. Our digital radiography will allow for improved diagnostic abilities and facilitate access to surgical referrals when necessary.”