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Sue Compton, Axis Community Health CEO (left), and Angelica Ybarra, Registered Dental Assistant (right), greet the first dental patient (center) at the new dental clinic on Tuesday, February 5. (Photo courtesy Axis Community Health)

The Pleasanton City Council approved an update to the city's Human Services Needs Assessment Strategic Plan at the February 5 meeting.

As part of the presentation, the council learned that dental service was now available.

The city distributes nearly $1 million in grants each year to nonprofits from federal and state funding sources, as well as the city's general fund. The priorities and objectives in the updated strategic plan will help drive grant award decisions.

The updated plan outlines strategic priorities and proposed action steps for 2018-2022 in areas such as homelessness, senior citizen services, behavioral health, transportation services and access, and domestic violence and access. Steps include the creation of a centralized database for service providers, and transportation to connect citizens with the services they need. Outreach to those in need will be expanded. In addition, efforts to educate all community members about human service needs in Pleasanton will be increased.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the new plan.

One highlight involved a report on the desire to provide dental care for those who cannot afford the cost.

At the meeting, Axis Community Health announced that it has opened a location in Dublin to provide dental care.

Sue Compton, Axis CEO, stated, "This project has been a long-sought dream."

Dental services for low-income residents are extremely limited and most Axis patients, including children, were traveling to Alameda County’s Highland Hospital in Oakland or to other out of area clinics for care. Axis surveys found that over one-third of Axis patients referred for dental care were unable to get care due to the distance and long waits for appointments.

She said that of the 15,000 patients served each year by Axis, 90% had not been to a dentist in several years.

After three years of searching to find a location that was affordable to Axis, the right size and easily accessible, Compton told the council, "We found a little gem."

The new dental clinic is located in Almond Plaza on Regional Street in Dublin. The 2,240 sq. ft. space housed a former dental practice. All the necessary water and gas lines, x-ray equipment, and other major structural components were in place. Following upgrades to existing dental and technology equipment , as well as staff recruitment and training, Axis opened the clinic last week.

According to a press release, it features six dental chairs and serves Axis patients from throughout the Tri-Valley. Staff include Patrice Lane, DDS, Dental Director, a dental hygienist and two registered dental assistants. Services include preventive care and treatment for basic dental needs such as fillings, extractions and uncomplicated root canals. Axis is expecting to serve 2,000 patients in this first year with an emphasis on dental care for children.

Compton noted that all three Tri-Valley communities had contributed from their Community Block Grant Programs to the cost of establishing the clinic. Pleasanton provided $220,000, Livermore $140,000 and Dublin $39,000.

Axis also worked with Alameda County Health Services and the Southern Alameda County Dental Society to develop the project for local dental services.

“We knew this would take a long time and a lot of effort, but the result is in,” said Compton. “Axis patients can now get the dental care they need right here in the Tri-Valley.”