MEDIA RELEASE courtesy Bay Clinic, Inc.
Staying in step with its founder’s philanthropic values, KTA Super Stores selected Bay Clinic as the recipient of a $23,000 donation for a new Hilo dental center. The donation was made in memory of Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi, the original owners of the Hilo-based grocery chain.
By December, Bay Clinic plans to open a new dental clinic inside the Hilo Shopping Center. To be called the “Hilo Family Dental Center,” the new clinic aims to offer a low cost alternative to dental care for patients with or without insurance. The KTA donation will provide funding for digital x-ray machines, while numerous other donations, grants and federal subsidies – namely from the Affordable Care Act Capital Development Program – will fund construction.
“Bay Clinic currently has one dental site in Keaʻau and a mobile dental unit that rotates between Kaʻu, Puna, and Hilo, but we are finding that the need for dental services in Hilo far outweighs our current capacity,” stated Paul Strauss, Bay Clinic CEO.
In Hawaiʻi County, 55% of the population is uninsured or covered under QUEST/Medicaid. For this group, oral health care options are extremely limited which negatively impacts their oral health. With the rate of cavities in school-aged children more than double the national average, Hawaiʻi children bear an unfair portion of the burden related to poor access to dental care. In fact, The Pew Charitable Trust recently published a national children’s dental health report card, giving Hawaiʻi an “F” grade in children’s dental health. Overall, Hawaiʻi Island communities experience higher rates of permanent teeth removal and lower rates of preventative oral health care when compared to Hawaiʻi State averages.
Bay Clinic will continue to provide mobile dental care in Kaʻu and Pahoa after the new Hilo center is opened. Another dental expansion is planned for 2013 with the completion of a new Kaʻu Family Health and Dental Center.
Bay Clinic provides primary health care, dental and behavioral health care to the uninsured and medically underserved families of Hilo, Puna and Kaʻu. As a nonprofit healthcare provider, Bay Clinic depends upon donations and grants to continue providing healthcare on a sliding fee scale for those in need. For more information, please visit www.bayclinicinc.org.