To operate effectively and ensure sustainability, school-based dental sealant programs need adequate funding. It is best if programs diversify funding streams. Programs that depend on only one or two funding sources can run into financial difficulty if funding from the source or sources is discontinued. Diversifying lowers the risk of having to close the program if one source of income dwindles or ceases altogether.
Successful school-based dental sealant programs diversify funding streams by capturing direct reimbursement (e.g., Medicaid, CHIP, sliding fee payments) whenever possible and securing external funding (e.g., sponsorships, grants, donations). The program director needs to determine whether the program can be reimbursed for certain services and to create an infrastructure to document, bill, and reconcile billings.
To ensure that funding can be secured and reimbursements maximized, school-based dental sealant programs should start small and expand over time. As programs become more established and demonstrate efficiency, funders are more likely to invest generously.