Oral health remains one of the most widely important health care spheres because the majority of people find themselves in need of dental care services regularly and repeatedly throughout their lives. Due to the cost of such services, many may not be able to afford them, and it should be recognized that this is not only a patient problem but also a facility problem because insufficient funding is a threat to the existence of a dentistry department in a medical facility. After reviewing oral health population indicators in the United States, it has been stressed by the community of health care providers that various forms of oral health services should exist, including community-based (“Safety net dental clinic manual,” n.d.). However, it is also recognized that dental care in a community health center (CHC) cannot be funded without grants, which stresses the relevance of exploring and analyzing available grants and reflecting on their advantages and disadvantages.
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The five major sources of grants available in health care are governments, private foundations, corporate grantmakers, community foundations, and public charities. Each source is characterized by specific features, and a decision maker in a CHC should consider them thoroughly before opting for one type of funding or another (“Foundation center,” n.d.). Government grants are usually seen as safer and more reliable solutions than those coming from other sources because governments maintain a comprehensive system of monitoring grant needs in health care and ensuring that they are properly addressed (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d.). Moreover, governments can afford providing larger grants than other sources. On the other hand, private and corporate sources do not always guarantee the continuity of funding because the chances of a business to become bankrupt are higher than those of a government. There are several examples of large medical facilities operating based on public charities exclusively, and this model provides certain independence to medical facilities, but there is the risk of funding insufficiency, too.
On a larger scale, not only grant opportunities, but the very health care model where grants are given and received requires critical assessment. The grant system implies that funding is limited, and only facilities that demonstrate that they need funding more than other facilities receive a grant. The principle of granting is not only need-based: apart from demonstrating the need, a facility is expected to describe convincingly its capacity to use the grant with maximum benefits for patients and communities. A way to do so is to present heath care management initiatives that pursue optimal operation and minimization of costs without damaging the quality of care or deteriorating patient outcomes. Grant systems are beneficial because they encourage facilities to compete for funding, which is how they constantly improve their services to receive a competitive advantage in the selection process. At the same time, it should not be disregarded that the distribution of grants is a human process that can involve failures: for example, grant candidates who are in serious need for a grant and are capable of providing the best services with it may be overlooked in the application process due to the flaws of eligibility criteria or poor selection.
A particular granting source that can be reviewed is government funding (“Apply for a grant,” n.d.). The federal government provides a wide variety of grants, and choosing among them is a challenging task for decision-makers of health care facilities. The first steps are reviewing the application procedure and checking the eligibility. If a facility is eligible, and as soon as the application process is understood, a facility should collect materials for submission and ensure that its operation complies with the conditions of the selected grant. The process is rather complicated, but an advantage of this type of pursuing grants is substantial technical assistance provided by government agencies responsible for granting.
Apply for a grant. (n.d.). Web.
Foundation center. (n.d.). Web.
Safety net dental clinic manual. (n.d.).
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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Grants/funding. Web.