Pacific Center Receives More than $3.5 Million in New Grants for Virtual Dental Home Projects

October 13, 2017

Child getting dental exam


Child with dental hygienist


The Pacific Center for Special Care has received $3,578,239 in new grants to support expansion of the Virtual Dental Home System it developed. The funding will support work with the California Regional Center system to improve oral health for people with disabilities in that system, development of value-based payment methodology, and expansion activities with partners across the West Coast and Hawaii.

“This level of funding from multiple sources indicates tremendous interest in supporting systems that can improve the oral health of the vast number of people who do not currently have access to oral health services and good oral health,” said Dr. Paul Glassman, director of the Pacific Center. “The fact that these funding awards come from multiple federal and state sources — as well as philanthropic foundations in multiple states — shows that Pacific's work in these areas is being recognized as an important strategy for focusing the oral health system of the future on achieving better outcomes and lowering the cost of doing so.”

The Pacific Center’s recent grants include:

  • $861,000 contract from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The contract is part of a HRSA-funded State Oral Health Workforce Grant awarded to CDPH. Pacific will be working with several health centers to start a Virtual Dental Home system. In addition, Pacific will develop measurement and data collection methodology that can be used to develop value-based payment systems for oral health care. Value-based payment is the concept of providing incentives for improving the health of groups of people. Traditional health care payment systems base incentives on the number of procedures, visits or other interventions conducted, rather than outcomes. There is great interest in value-based systems across the health care industry, although less work has been done in this area in oral health care.

  • $150,000 grant from the Delta Dental Foundation to work with the Rolling Hills Community Health Center on launching a Virtual Dental Home system in Tehama County. Tehama County has a large rural population along with many low-income people who are not accessing dental care in the traditional dental care system.

  • $140,235 grant from the Alta California Regional Center to train and support dental providers in the Alta Regional Center catchment area to work with Alta clients with developmental disabilities. This project will include providing continuing dental education programs, on-site training and an incorporation of Virtual Dental Home outreach systems to reach and improve the oral health of people within the Alta Regional Center area.

  • Four county grants as part of the Dental Transformation Initiative (DTI) project with the California Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS). California has embarked on a $750 million DTI program supported by a waiver from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Approximately $180 million of this program is to fund local dental pilot projects (LDPPs). The Pacific Center was selected to be a participant in eight of the 15 LDPPs that were approved by DHCS. Pacific has received subcontracts from four of these counties at this point. They are:

    • $332,626 grant from Fresno County to support dental providers there in their adoption of the Virtual Dental Home system.

    • $140,235 grant for the first year of a 3.5-year project from San Joaquin County. Pacific has been working with the Community Medical Centers FQHC for the last few years under grants from the San Joaquin Kaiser and Sutter Hospital Foundations. This DTI grant will significantly expand the reach of this program with the addition of multiple schools' Head Start centers. The grant will also focus on children in special needs education as well as Early Head Start (EHS) programs, which serve children under the age of three and pregnant women.

    • $684,243 grant from the Sacramento County Department of Public Health. This project will involve working with four provider entities who will serve children in the Twin Rivers School District in Sacramento. It will also involve the three health plans currently contracted with DHCS to provide dental care under the Geographic Managed Care (GMC) system. This project is unique in its goal of demonstrating that the Virtual Dental Home system can improve the delivery of oral health services within a managed care environment.

    • $650,202 grant from the First Five Commission in Orange County. This project will support the development of Virtual Dental Home systems working in conjunction with six FQHCs. Project will also support the expansion of the Virtual Dental Home system started by Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County (HSKOC) with training and support by Pacific several years ago.

  • $30,000 grant from the Western University School of Dentistry to train dental hygienists to place Interim Therapeutic Restorations and implement Virtual Dental Home care systems. This is the third year of funding for an existing project in conjunction with Western to expand the availability of dental care and the use of dental hygienists in community settings.

  • Two foundation grants to expand Pacific's partnership with the Hawaii Department of Health in their efforts to implement the Virtual Dental Home system as a method of improving oral health for the people of Hawaii. The Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) previously funded two years of work to start a Virtual Dental Home system on the Island of Hawaii. The new grants are:

    • $319,235 grant from HDS. This grant continues support for the project on the Island of Hawaii for another year, as well as the establishment of a new Virtual Dental Home system on the Island of Maui. (see below)

    • $125,000 grant from the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) Foundation. This grant and the HDS grant will support Pacific's work with the Hui No Ke Ola Pono Native Hawaiian Community Health Center as they begin to use the Virtual Dental Home system to serve children on Maui in Head Start and WIC programs, as well as in Hale Makua Health Services' skilled nursing facilities.

  • $130,000 from the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Dentistry (OHSU). This grant will support OHSU in their testing of the ability of dental hygienists to place Interim Therapeutic restorations and the inclusion of a number of dental care organizations in their Virtual Dental Home expansion project.

The Pacific Center for Special Care is an organization within University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry committed to improving the oral health of underserved people on the local, state and federal level. The Pacific Center has been building its capacity to train and support systems and providers at this scale for many years. The center has developed tools for project management milestone tracking, online education resources, performance reporting, and technical assistance.

For more information about any of these projects please contact Dr. Paul Glassman, Director of the Pacific Center for Special Care, at 415.929.6490 or


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Categories: Awards, Community Impact, Featured, Honors, Pacific Center for Special Care, 2017