A Guide for Developing and Enhancing Community Oral Health Programs  
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Step 3. Determine Priorities and Plan the Program

C. Design the Program

2. Identify Funding Resources

An essential component of planning is identifying and mobilizing needed resources. It is critical to determine what is genuinely feasible—financially, programmatically, and politically. Therefore, it is important to establish a projected budget for needed resources before conducting a search for resources.

In addition to financial support, there are other categories of resources that can assist with developing, integrating, expanding, or enhancing a community oral health program. One such category is assistance with the process of obtaining financial support. Certain individuals or agencies may be able to obtain initial core funding for the program. Other resources include the expertise of professionals and consumers; the influence that can be brought to bear on decision-makers and funders by local media, advocacy groups, community residents, and leaders; and contributions of physical space, staff time, training opportunities, and materials.

Specific sources of funding for services include

  • State public health agency budget
  • Federal and/or state oral health grants
  • Title V Maternal Child Health Block Grant (federal funds provided in a block grant to state’s department of health)
  • Prevention Block Grant (federal funds provided in a block grant to the state’s department of health)
  • National, state, and local foundations
  • Community service organizations
  • Local businesses (e.g., dental supply companies, health and dental insurance carriers)
  • Third-party payers (e.g., Medicaid, SCHIP)

A critical source of financial support is health insurance reimbursement, including that available from both private and public programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP. Medicaid is a significant source of funding for oral health services, especially for children and adolescents. Opportunities to Use Medicaid in Support of Oral Health Services is a manual that includes a discussion of the EPSDT program, services for children with special health care needs, services in federally qualified health centers, and school-based health services. General information about Medicaid and SCHIP is also available. It is important to learn about and understand the intricacies of the Medicaid program as they affect the delivery of oral health services. Reviewing the state Medicaid plan’s policies pertaining to oral health, and discussing these with the state Medicaid director, is useful as well.

When seeking funding, it is vital to be able to document the need for the proposed program and to have a detailed program plan and budget. Information about budgeting and finances can be found in the Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual.

The American Dental Association has developed a report on innovative Medicaid program that summarizes state by state approaches to improving children’s access to oral health care. Other information about financing oral health services and oral health initiatives by state, as well as policy briefs, has been compiled by the Children’s Dental Health Project.

Often, the key to obtaining adequate resources to support programs is staff’s ability to weave together various funding streams and community resources. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has initiated several community-based oral health programs that were able to blend various funding streams to enhance oral health service delivery. These programs include Kids Get Care, Washington; Apple Tree Dental, Minnesota; and Community DentCare, New York.

Also available from the National Oral Health Policy Center are the following documents:

Raising awareness about oral disease in the community, mobilizing community support, and coming up with a practical plan to address problems are all key to obtaining ongoing financial support.

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Table of Contents Appendices AACDP References Home Appendices References Conclusion Step 6 Step 5 Step 4 Step 3 Step 2 Executive Summary Overview Step 1 Acknowledgements