Research Update – Feb 2008

Problem: The lack of access to dental care, both emergency and restorative, for low-income uninsured adults has reached crisis proportions in our community.

Statewide Statistics:

· Of the approximated 7,642,884 people in Virginia, it is estimated that 3,750,306 have no dental insurance.
· 55.2% of uninsured Virginians reported that they do not visit a dentist regularly.
· Virginia is 1 of 8 states that does not provide Medicaid reimbursement for adult dental care. However, Medicaid reimburses dental care for children.

Local Need:
· In determining the need for adult dental care, many organizations have used the following formula: for every one uninsured person there are an estimated three without dental insurance; these calculations would lead to an estimated 17,283 Charlottesville residents without dental insurance and an estimated 33,240 Albemarle County residents without dental insurance.
· The UVa emergency room sees between 5-10 people per day in dire need of dental care; in 2007, this totaled 1,792 people.

Effects of poor or no dental care:
There are a number of diseases and conditions that have been linked to oral health, i.e.: cancer, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, premature birth, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Poor oral health also affects nutrition and hinders one’s ability to find employment.

History of dental care access for the uninsured in our area:
-UVa Medical Center stopped their sliding fee scale dental care program 4 years ago and refocused on medically necessary patients needing dental care who are already in the UVa system.
-Virginia Baptist Association dental care program was discontinued.
-Thomas Jefferson Health Department stopped seeing adults for dental care and sees only a limited number of children.
-Charlottesville Free Clinic reports that with the end of the aforementioned dental care, calls for dental assistance tripled. There are few efforts to meet this dire need. Currently, the Free Clinic is struggling to treat those in need of emergency extractions, serving approximately 20 individuals a month through a very limited schedule with volunteer dentists (13) at the clinic. The waiting list for extractions stands at over 240.
-Community Dental Program that began in March 2007, was an effort to address the need for restorative care. Thirty-eight dentists agreed to treat uninsured adults at their offices. The list of people needing dental care began at 330 and now has ballooned to the extraordinary number of 759 as of the end of January. However, MACAA, the agency that maintains the list, reports that this list for restorative care has not continued to be maintained because it is no longer realistic to put any more names on the list. Since March, only 40 of those on the list have been screened and approximately 20 have been treated. At this current rate, it will take 30 years to treat just those on the current waiting list.
-People are being referred to Richmond and Buckingham for affordable dental care, both emergency and restorative, due to lack of care in this area.
-Volunteer programs for meeting this need have been overwhelmed, and dentists all over our community say the need far exceeds their volunteer efforts.

Affordable Housing
Problem: Because of the great need in our region, our interest continues to be to increase housing opportunities for families earning 0-30% AMI (Area Median Income), or under 20K per year.

The Need:
-There is a deficit of 3,917 affordable rental units for families in our region earning under $20,000/yr or 0-30% AMI (Area Median Income) Source: TJPDC “State of Housing Report”, Jan. 2007
-700 people applied for the Albemarle County Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8 rent assistance) when they opened their waiting list between Nov 26, 2007 and Jan 22, 2008. This does not include the 400 individuals currently using the voucher program.
-There are families living in the 376 public housing units in the City and approximately 900 more families on the waiting list.

Statistics on children who became homeless during recent academic years:
Albemarle County
2003/2004 – 84
2004/2005 – 219
2005/2006 – 284
2006/2007 – 320

2003/2004 – 125
2004/2005 – 100
2005/2006 – 127
2006/2007 – 240
*This does not include children who began the school year in a shelter or doubling up with other families, but only those newly homeless children.

Status of the Task Force:
The Task Force finally formed in late 2007 and IMPACT has a seat on the task force. The initially elected Co-chairs were City Councilor Dave Norris, County Supervisor David Slutzky, and David Neuman, UVA Architect. In January, City Councilor Huja replaced Councilor Norris as the City’s representative on the Task Force. They have selected rental housing for the 0-30%AMI category as their top priority, followed by rental/home ownership for 30-60% AMI and then home ownership for 60-80% AMI. The Task Force is charged with coming up with regional plans and funding sources to meet these needs.

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