The Squirrel Hill Health Center (SHHC) has been chosen as one of 85 community health centers in the country to receive stimulus funds from the federal Recovery Act.
The health center will receive $792,700, which will be directed toward the renovations and construction of an oral health care center for uninsured and underserved residents of Western Pennsylvania.
CEO Susan Friedberg Kalson says the center had an oral healthcare center in its plans since it opened three and a half years ago, but did not have the funds to build it. She says the money will cover construction and renovation costs, but will not cover operating expenses. She says the center has begun applying for more funds to cover those costs as well.
Kalson says the center will provide care for people with no dental insurance on a sliding fee scale, which means patients will be evaluated based on household income. There will be a minimum fee per service. She says care will also be provided for people with insurance, mostly for those with MediCaid because it is especially difficult for those people to receive dental care. She says not only will this benefit people in need of care, but it will also create jobs in construction, renovation and permanent positions once the center is completely finished. The center has partnered with area social service agencies and dental advisory groups made up of community dentists. She says they are looking forward to working with their community partners to make this happen. Kalson says there is an incredible need for increased dental services in our area.