Swedish Specialty Dental Clinic for low-income residents receives national recognition

October 16, 2014

Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s oral surgery program receives Golden Apple award from the American Dental Association

SEATTLE—Oct. 16, 2014—The Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s dental program, which has provided complex oral surgery care for more than 1,800 low-income adults, announced today that it received the American Dental Association’s Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Access to Dental Care Programs. The specialty dental program—a partnership between the Seattle - King County Dental Society, Project Access Northwest, Seattle Special Care Dentistry and Swedish — has provided more than $2.4 million in free care since its inception in 2011.

“Before this clinic opened, many low-income adults had nowhere to go but the emergency room when they had painful, acute dental conditions,” said Tom Gibbon, manager of the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic. “This program ensures that everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, has access to specialty dental care in the right place, at the right time.”

Patients with complex oral health conditions are referred to the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s dental program at the First Hill campus from safety-net dental clinics across King County.

“This program fulfills a huge unmet need for specialty dental care for low-income adults in our community,” said Sallie Neillie, executive director of Project Access Northwest, which provides case management services for the program’s patients. “We’re able to provide complex dental care five days a week, at no cost to eligible low-income patients.”

More than 30 dentists and oral surgeons volunteer at the clinic. In addition, the clinic is staffed by a dental residency program.

“The dental community in King County has really stepped up to make this important service possible. We’re able to provide care for some of our most vulnerable residents thanks to the commitment of our volunteer dentists and oral surgeons, along with the hard work of our attending dentists and residents,” said Noah Letwin, the Dental Director of the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic. Dr. Letwin and his partners at Seattle Special Care Dentistry provide clinical oversight and staff management for the program.

The specialty dental program receives financial support from the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority, Seattle-King County Dental Foundation, the Washington Dental Service Foundation and the Swedish Foundation.

“The Golden Apple award recognizes the unique, innovative partnership we’ve developed to increase access to specialty dental care. We’re thrilled that this important program is receiving national recognition,” said Jennifer Freimund, executive director of the Seattle-King County Dental Society & Foundation, which recruits volunteer dentists and oral surgeons and provides funding for supplies, equipment and staffing.

The American Dental Association’s Golden Apple Awards Program is in its 26th year and recognizes outstanding activities and excellence in leadership from across the nation among dental societies and their volunteers.

More information about the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic can be found here.

About Swedish

Swedish has grown over the last 103 years to become the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and Swedish Medical Group, a network of more than 100 primary care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. In 2012, Swedish provided more than $130 million in community benefit in Western Washington. For more information, visit www.swedish.org, www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter, or www.twitter.com/swedish.

About Project Access Northwest

Project Access Northwest is a local non-profit that was founded in 2006 and collaborates with the health care community to open doors to medical and dental care for low income individuals with limited access. Opening doors means removing the logistical and financial barriers to specialty medical care for patients and physicians. More than 1,300 licensed clinicians (physicians, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and others) have seen more than 20,000 patients since its founding. The physician and hospital community provided over $25 million in care and services in that same time frame. For more information regarding Project Access Northwest go to http://projectaccessnw.org. Individuals interested in accessing needed dental or medical care through Project Access Northwest must be referred to the organization by their primary care physician.

About Seattle-King County Dental Society and Foundation

The Seattle-King County Dental Society (SKCDS) is a Seattle-based non-profit membership organization composed of almost 2,000 general dentists and specialists practicing in King County. Since its founding in 1892, the Society has been committed to improving the oral health in the community through its members and alliances. The Seattle-King County Dental Foundation (SKCDF) is the philanthropic arm of SKCDS.  The Foundation is dedicated to eliminating dental pain and infection among the underserved citizens of King County. Established in 1992, the Foundation has made grants to over 30 non-profit and educational organizations, totaling well over $1,100,000. More information is available at www.skcds.org.