(BROOKINGS, SD) – The South Dakota Community Foundation donated $10,000 to the Horizon Health Foundation as a matching gift to support Horizon Health Care’s Smiles for Miles program.
"It is so important to the overall health of our smallest patients to be able to visit the dentist early in life - ideally before the first year," said Michelle Scholtz, Horizon's chief dental officer. "Working with committed partners like the South Dakota Community Foundation allows us to see children who may not otherwise be able to have their teeth cleaned and checked. This sets them on the right path to achieve lifelong wellness."
Now through October 31, any gift will be matched by the South Dakota Community Foundation, up to $10,000 to help children in need. The Smiles for Miles program funds dental care for children 0-5 including a free exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatment. This makes it possible for our youngest patients to get a strong start on their dental and overall wellness journey.
Children should begin seeing a dentist within the first year of life or by the time they get their first teeth. It’s typical for 50% of children to go to kindergarten without having a previous dental visit. This results in cavities at a young age and the potential for physical, dental, and behavioral health challenges as problems in one area can quickly affect others.
“Access to preventative health care is so important and is especially a challenge in rural areas,” said Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “SDCF was proud to support this initiative supporting dental screenings for children.”
Horizon dental and medical patients can participate in the program. Since Smiles for Miles began, 939 children have received free dental care. Horizon sees patients regardless of Medicaid or insurance status. A sliding fee scale based on income is available as well as reduced-cost prescriptions via the federal 340B program. To make a matching gift contribution you can call the Foundation at 605-772-4553, or via our website at www.horizonhealthfoundation.com/smiles.
About the Horizon Health Foundation
The Horizon Health Foundation was established in 2016 to ensure rural health care access to those in need and provide funding for Horizon Health Care. Horizon Health Foundation, a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation, seeks through responsible activities to encourage and derive sustaining gift support from current and former patients and interested friends, including corporate entities. The Horizon Health Foundation, operating in coordination with Horizon Health Care, is the duly designated fundraising arm for Horizon Health Care. In the broadest sense, the purpose of the Foundation is to create an awareness of the financial needs of Horizon Health Care, which are not provided by patient charges and to systematically implement plans by which dollar needs can be met.
About Horizon Health Care
For over 40 years, Horizon Health Care has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and behavioral health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 110,000 patient visits annually in 31 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Alcester, Bison, Bryant, De Smet, Eagle Butte, Elk Point, Faith, Fort Thompson, Howard, Huron, Isabel, La Plant, Lake Preston, Martin, McIntosh, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River, Woonsocket, and Yankton. For more information, please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.