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DALLAS — A North Texas health care nonprofit and a local low-cost dental care program will join forces to expand access to affordable oral health care in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Prism Health North Texas will acquire Dallas-based Community Dental Care of Texas, which operates three dental offices in Dallas and Farmers Branch affiliated with the national Advantage Dental+ network. The organization will be known as Prism Health North Texas Dental Care.

The partnership will allow Prism Health and Community Dental Care’s current patients better access to each other’s services, both of which receive major funding from the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to provide HIV treatment and related services to people living with the disease.

“We know, even in our current patients that we serve, far too many are really lacking good dental care,” said Prism Health CEO Dr. John Carlo. “Even if we made referrals to (Community Dental Care), because of the way eligibility works with funding and grants, you have to start all over every time you jump to a new organization. That creates barriers for our patients from going from one organization to the other.”

Access to consistent dental care is of particular importance for patients living with HIV, as oral health problems related to the disease are common. Accessing affordable dental care, however, can be difficult — more people are unable to afford dental care than other types of health care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The factors that influence a person’s likelihood of contracting HIV, like socioeconomic status and access to preventive health measures, also inform a person’s likelihood of having access to dental care.

Prism Health serves around 5,000 patients living with HIV, but only 16 percent of those patients using Ryan White funds for medical care had evidence of an annual dental visit, the organization said. The acquisition will, ideally, increase the percentage of patients accessing regular oral health care.

While Prism Health initially opened its doors in 1986 specifically to help people living with HIV and AIDS access health care, it has since expanded to providing care for all North Texans, particularly in underserved populations.

Community Dental Care director of operations Dorothy Jones said the decision to partner with Prism Health was influenced by the clinic’s long history of grant-funded health care services.

“It is also highly advantageous that our organizations already share many of the same patients,” she said. “Their common missions, coupled with Prism’s excellent reputation in the community, made it undeniable that Prism Health was the perfect fit.”

Because of Prism Health and Community Dental Care’s nonprofit statuses, the acquisition included no transaction of cash, Carlo said, and instead functioned as a formal partnership agreement.

The dental offices will continue to operate at their current locations at Dennis Lane in Farmers Branch and at Park Lane and Gaston Avenue in Dallas. Staff will also stay the same, while the Prism Health board of directors will become the single managing board for the clinics.



Dorothy Jones is director of operations at the Community Dental Care of Texas. Prism Health North Texas, a health care organization dedicated to LGBTQ and HIV-specific health care, announced Monday its intent to acquire assets of Community Dental Care of Texas in a move to better integrate access to affordable oral health care for marginalized populations. (Lola Gomez/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)


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