Northeast Delta Dental responds generously to the call for emergency funds to ensure continuity of integrated healthcare services.
New Hampshire’s community safety net is comprised of 11 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) located throughout the state, serving the healthcare needs of over 102,400 people annually. This year, the four largest of these health centers faced critical financial shortfalls totaling $3.5M, as of May of 2023.
This loss is the result of years of a public health pandemic, Medicaid reimbursement below market rates, and an eroding 340B pharmaceutical savings program that helps vulnerable or underserved patients purchase drugs at lower costs. To continue services that provide essential primary health care, behavioral health therapy, substance use disorder services, and vital community connections, Northeast Delta Dental responded to the call for emergency stabilization funding with a $500,000 gift.
Kris McCracken, President and CEO, Amoskeag Health, Manchester, identified the collective need for support to stabilize the state’s health safety net, “Without access, people will burden emergency departments or go without critical treatment for prevention, management, and care for chronic or emerging conditions. The impact of the Northeast Delta Dental gift resonates across the state to our diverse, underserved, and vulnerable populations.” She expanded on the importance of FQHCs, “Community Health Centers employ highly trained providers and care staff who have the expertise to remove barriers to care and address the whole person – their social needs, housing issues, behavioral health, and many other socioeconomic challenges.”
Serving residents across southern Coos County and Northern Grafton County, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, like all FQHCs, is a primary care practice that provides comprehensive and enabling services in a medically underserved region. Ed Shanshala, CEO, said “With this gift, we can retain the exceptional staff who provide a broad range of services in a cost-effective, single location that address physical, mental, and oral healthcare as well as wraparound services.”
Beyond providing medical care, community health centers offer behavioral health care, social work, enrollment assistance, and other services that impact the social determinants of health. “Determinants like substance misuse, untreated mental illness, and housing and food insecurity all challenge New Hampshire’s ability to attract businesses, educate our young people, and maintain a productive workforce,” said Jim Avrett, CEO at Greater Seacoast Community Health, which operates health centers in Portsmouth and Somersworth. “By helping sustain our capacity to address these issues with our patients, the funding from Northeast Delta Dental ultimately improves the well-being of all of us in the state.”
All FQHCs have a large percentage of patients who are uninsured or insured by Medicaid and Medicare. Lamprey Health co-CEO, Greg White, said “This year we saw the first adjustment since 2011 to align reimbursement rates with the increasing cost of providing care. For some NH FQHCs, up to half of our patients are in the Medicaid category, which was covering only 80% of the cost of care. Moving forward, the adjustment will ensure continued services for the long term while this significant gift will help us to sustain services through the accumulated losses.”
President & CEO, Tom Raffio, said that when the call came in to boost up the safety net of community health across the state, Northeast Delta Dental had to respond. “We recognize that partnerships are vital to the success of community health and well-being. Addressing holistic health care (physical, mental, and oral) and strengthening community partnerships are essential to continue improving patient care across the state.”