Sanders Announces $1 Million to Expand Dental Care at Vermont Health Centers

BURLINGTON, Vt., June 16 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders today announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1.05 million to three community health centers in Vermont. The health centers will use this new federal funding to expand access to dental care.

“We have a real crisis in terms of access to affordable dental care in our country,” said Sanders, who serves as the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health.  “To my mind, it is unacceptable that millions of low-income children and adults – and many middle-class families, as well – go each year without seeing a dentist.” 

“Access to dental care is about much more than having a nice smile,” Sanders said. “We’re talking about people going through their whole lives experiencing severe pain, tooth loss, and infection, problems that can lead to serious, even deadly, medical conditions.”

“I am very pleased that these new federal funds will help address this crisis here in Vermont,” Sanders said. “However, millions of Americans – including many Vermonters – still do not have access to the primary medical, mental health, and oral health care they need. Congress should expand community health centers to help ensure people in Vermont and throughout the United States have access to affordable health care, including oral health.”

Thanks to a significant expansion of community health center funding in the Affordable Care Act, secured by Sanders, Federally Qualified Health Centers now serve one in four Vermonters at more than 50 locations across the state.  Health centers deliver high-quality primary, oral and mental health care services, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. They also provide low-cost prescription drugs to patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and those without insurance.

The Vermont awards announced today are part of nearly $156 million in federal funds to increase access to dental care at 420 community health centers in 47 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The following Vermont health centers received awards today: 

•        Northern Counties Health Care; St. Johnsbury: $350,000

•        Richford Health Center; Richford: $350,000

•        Springfield Medical Care Systems; Springfield: $350,000

To read the HHS announcement, click here.