Warren Avenue Community Health Center
Health Delivery, Inc. (HDI) was established in 1968. The Federally Qualified Health Center serves the communities of Saginaw, Bay, Huron, Lapeer, and Shiawassee Counties with over 20 locations. HDI’s three dental centers, 17 year-round medical centers, and seasonal migrant clinics provide services to over 45,000 patients a year in 15 counties throughout Michigan. Community-based services consist of primary medical, dental, laboratory, x-ray, pharmacy, behavioral health, health education, and women’s health services. Community outreach services include mobile dental units at local schools and Head Start programs, as well as education programs and health fairs. In response to the community, HDI offers specialized exercise classes at a low cost.
In response to indentified needs for expanding dental services, HDI will move its Wadsworth Dental Center from 2308 Wadsworth to 321 Warren Avenue. The new facility will provide two times the square footage to meet both current and future expansion needs. Space will be provided for 11 dental operatories; provider and staff work stations; a dental lab; patient waiting areas; registration and checkout areas; restrooms; administrative and business offices; an employee lounge; and mechanical space and storage.
- Location: Warren Avenue Community Health Center, 321 North Warren Avenue, Saginaw MI 48607
- Contact: Dr. Brenda Coughlin, Chief Executive Officer 989.759.6467
- Project Cost: $580,000
- Size: 15,484 sq. ft.; 2 floors
- Start Date: September 2, 2014
- Expected Completion: Phase I-June 30, 2015; Phase II-April 1, 2017
Meeting Community Need, Increasing Access, Expanding Services
The population of Saginaw County is listed at 196,542, of which 22.7% are living below the poverty level. The number of dental facilities that treat uninsured/underinsured and Medicaid patients in the area is very low. As a result, the need is overwhelming the aging Wadsworth Dental Center. People of low socioeconomic status in Michigan bear similar oral health burdens as their national counterparts. Those in poverty are less likely to have visited a dentist in the past year or have had their teeth cleaned. Those with a high school education or less aren’t as likely as those with higher education to visit a dentist for treatment or preventive services. For both those at low-income and low-education levels, tooth loss appears at much higher rates. The 2002 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) demonstrated that 47.6% of individuals with annual household incomes below $20,000 had not visited a dentist in the previous year. In contrast, only 15.9% of individuals with annual household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 had not visited the dentist within the previous year. Michigan continues to make progress in improving the oral health of its residents. However, in comparison to other states, Michigan continues to have higher rates of oral cancer, ranks next to last in the country for dental sealant placement, and has significant disparities in oral health access. In addition, one in nine third grade Michigan children show signs or symptoms of dental pain, infection, or swelling. Thirty-five percent of HDI’s patients are children. HDI is definitely positioned to extend dedicated services to this population given an opportunity to expand the physical space for service delivery. With over 15,484 square feet of space, the new facility will enable HDI to meet current and future needs. In addition to providing additional dental exam rooms, it will allow for a centralized location for HDI’s school-based mobile dental department.
Reaching Special Populations
The target population is individuals living at or under the federal poverty level, individuals who are underinsured/uninsured, women, children, domestic violence victims, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals living in public housing, migrant farmworkers, and other at-risk populations. The most critical need for these special populations is expanded access to affordable primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, and enabling services.
With the Affordable Care Act and Michigan’s new Healthy Michigan Plan (Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program), 15% of the population who have been uninsured will now have access to quality affordable health care. The current Wadsworth Dental Center is working at maximum capacity and has difficulty accepting new patients due to a lack of exam rooms and an insufficient number of dental providers. More dental exam rooms will allow for additional dental providers and service expansion. Warren Avenue is located in close proximity to both a major interstate and across the street from STARS, a public transportation system for the Urbanized Saginaw Area.
Community Collaboration / Service Integration
HDI is committed to actively collaborating with partners and reaching out to those in need. It’s school-based programs located in Saginaw High School and Arthur Hill High School serve patients who are 10-21 years old. At those facilities, children, teens, and young adults can get physical exams, immunizations, disease specific screenings (asthma, hypertension, diabetes, etc.), mental health assessments and case management of physical and mental/behavioral health problems, nutrition counseling, and dietary management. HDI’s mobile community dental program, “Smiles Are Everywhere,” offers dental exams, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, and oral health education at Title I schools in the region. HDI has exam room space at Saginaw, Shiawassee, and Huron County Behavioral Health locations, offering family medicine for their patients by providing care in a co-location model. HDI’s integrated care sites at St. Vincent’s in Shields, and Wolvervine Human Services in Vassar and Saginaw, offer family medicine, immunizations, and dental care.
Innovation in Design
HDI is designing a dental office that reflects its commitment to the well-being of its patients, staff, and the environment. HDI will be using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles, which is a national benchmark for green buildings. Through rigorous planning, careful construction, and repurposing of space, HDI is creating a high-performance facility that is a healthy, productive place to work; less costly to operate and maintain; and reduces its environmental footprint. Designed to safeguard the health of occupants and visitors, HDI’s new facility includes measures that are beneficial to patients, staff, and the community. The facility will utilize highly efficient compact florescent lighting and occupancy sensors for energy savings. HDI will install low-flow fixtures, energy star appliances, and sensor-operated faucets. Adhesive, paints, flooring, and sealants with low VOC ratings will be used to prevent harmful off-gassing. HDI’s specially designed heating and cooling systems provide the cleanest air possible with a fresh-air exchange feature and C02 sensors. All of these items reflect a shift from the typical system model of a community dental center to a patient-focused environment that promotes wellness, efficiency, durability, and flexibility..
Impact on Social Determinants of Health
The new facility will allow HDI to make an immediate, positive impact on the health disparities caused by poverty and lack of access to needed dental care services. The Wadsworth Dental Center’s operational cost from a facilities and utilities outlook is exceeding comparable dental facilities within the Saginaw area. The cost of operational improvements needed over the next year for the facility will exceed $100,000. Even under the facility’s current state it is averaging 10,400 appointments a year, with 33% of those appointments being with children. HDI is fortunate to have a dedicated WIC Services department where staff diligently work in concert with the dental services department in order to refer children and families for greatly needed dental assessment and care. HDI providers also refer prenatal, migrant, and Maternal Infant Health Program patients for very necessary and integrated dental care. Wadsworth staff also offer much needed oral health education to all patients including children offering instruction on proper nutrition, food selection options, and how good dental care is a part of overall health care. The Warren Avenue facility being in an optimum location for the majority of HDI’s current patients, will take dental care in the City of Saginaw to a totally new level of community care. The Wadsworth Dental Center currently utilizes HDI’s internal transportation department for approximately 50% of its patients who may otherwise not be able to make a scheduled appointment. This much needed service is provided at no cost to both medical and dental patients but is also limited by volume and availability. The proximity of the Warren Avenue location to public transportation will greatly increase the Center’s capability and capacity to see unscheduled urgent dental needs. The possibilities for expansion on the current footprint of the Warren Avenue location will give HDI the potential to better address the current and future needs for dental care in the community.
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