The Wheeler Health & Wellness Center at 10 North Main
Street, Bristol, now offers on-site preventive dental services through the
support of a $75,000 grant from the Connecticut Health and Educational
Facilities Authority (CHEFA).
Dental services, provided by a registered dental hygienist,
are available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include basic
preventive services, such as cleanings, screenings, sealants, fluoride
treatments and X-rays. Referrals and coordinated linkages to other dental
providers and specialty services also are offered.
“We expanded our services to meet the needs of residents of
Bristol and surrounding communities who have no, or limited access to, health
and dental care resources,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief
executive officer, Wheeler Clinic. “Our new services are a strong addition to
the array of primary care and behavioral health services offered at this
facility and are part of our commitment to integrating mental, oral and
physical health into our delivery of care.”
opened the Wheeler Health & Wellness Center in Bristol in 2013 to provide
coordinated, integrated primary and behavioral health care in a medically
underserved area. The Wheeler Health & Wellness Center recently was
designated a federally qualified health center by the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, which will
significantly strengthen efforts to meet the needs of underserved residents in
Bristol and the surrounding communities, reduce disparities among vulnerable
populations, and promote positive health outcomes.
Bristol is a federally designated Dental Care Health
Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) with a Dental Health HPSA score of 17. Access to dental care for Medicaid patients and the uninsured
is limited. Lack of transportation, limited appointment availability and other
barriers further reduce access to essential oral health services.
“The availability of preventive dental services is part of
Wheeler’s commitment to reduce barriers that prevent individuals and families
from getting the care they need, and to address some of the most pressing
disparities in children’s oral health,” added Walkama.
According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health Every
Smile Counts 2011 report, dental decay is a significant problem for
Connecticut children, and minority and low-income children experience the
highest rates of dental disease. According to a January 2015 report by
the Connecticut Health Foundation, Improving Children’s Oral Health by
Crossing the Medical-Dental Divide, only three percent of Connecticut
children on Medicaid receive oral health services from their medical providers,
despite having multiple well child visits, and only one percent of children on
Medicaid under age one have a dental visit.
Further research by the Connecticut Health Foundation and
Connecticut Voices for Children demonstrates that low-income children are far
more likely to receive dental services if their parents receive preventive
dental care. Only about half of low-income children receive dental care if
their parents do not receive the same care (http://www.cthealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CHF-CTV-Dental-Infographic-full.jpg).
Access to dental care for low-income families is a significant health issue
identified by state and local departments of public health, community social
service providers and current health center patients.
Wheeler Health &
The Wheeler Health &
Wellness Center at 10 North Main Street, Bristol, is open to the public Monday
and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dental services, provided by a registered dental hygienist,
are available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Walk-ins for primary
care services welcome from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.). The Wheeler Health & Wellness
Center provides an array of behavioral health and medical health care services
to individuals and families, including primary and walk-in care for all ages;
well-child care and immunizations; physical examinations; women’s health;
integrated behavioral health care; coordination and referral for dental care
and specialty health care services; and tobacco cessation services and support.
Services are available in English and Spanish. Medicaid, Medicare and
commercial health insurance are welcome, and a sliding fee scale is available.
The Wheeler Health & Wellness Center, Bristol is also funded in part by the
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, United Way of West Central Connecticut,
and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an operating
division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For information,
About Wheeler Clinic
comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing
individuals, families and communities with accessible, innovative care that
encourages recovery, health and growth at all stages of life. Our
integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education and recovery creates
measurable results, positive outcomes and hopeful tomorrows for more than
30,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more: www.wheelerclinic.org.