Community Health Centers Score Funds For Primary, Mental, and Dental Health Expansions

Oct 20, 2015

Rhode Island’s Community Health Centers have gotten a couple of funding boosts this week. The funds are intended to expand access to primary care and dental care.

Thundermist operates clinics in a few locations throughout Rhode Island.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket will receive $1 million dollar federal grant to add exam rooms and hire more primary care doctors. 

Thundermist officials say the investment will help them serve nearly 4500 more patients. That’s a significant boost in an area with less access to primary care than other parts of the state. The good news about the grant was delivered by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), who has introduced legislation that would encourage more medical students to enter the primary care field at a time when shortages are projected.

Community health centers across the state, including Thundermist, will also benefit from a $1 million dollar grant from Delta Dental. The insurer announced the donation  this week to expand access to dental care for low income residents. State health department data show Rhode Islanders without dental insurance are much less likely to visit the dentist.

Community mental health clinics have also received around a $1 million dollars in funding, according to an announcement from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grants are intended to help states figure out how to boost Medicaid reimbursement for mental health services, "certify" clinics based on the quality of their services, and better integrate mental health and primary care services.