Expanding medical access$1.4 million grant helps community build new dental and medical clinic
By: Kristi Atkinson, Prairie Business Magazine
Horizon Health Care Inc. will receive a $1.4 million federal grant to build a new dental and medical clinic in De Smet, S.D.
The community health center — which plans to build a new clinic to further expand access to affordable, high-quality dental and medical care — currently occupies space that the local hospital plans to use. With just two small dental exam rooms located within Horizon medical clinic and a need for access to dental care, dental appointment availability is currently six to eight weeks out. The grant will help Horizon build the new facility, serve more patients and improve access to dental care in De Smet and the surrounding communities.
”This grant will help us to continue to provide close-to-home access to preventive dental care in a cost effective setting,” says John Mengenhausen, Horizon CEO. “It will expand our ability to provide high-quality care as well as create jobs in the De Smet community.”
The new De Smet Community Health Center, set to break ground in August, will be located at the northeast corner of Wilder Pass and Prairie Avenue. Horizon is developing plans for the 9,000-square-foot clinic that will be designed to complement the look and feel of the Wilder Pass neighborhood. The tentative design includes six dental operatories, six medical exam rooms, office space, reception and ample waiting room. One of the operatories will be fully handicap accessible, allowing Horizon to serve the needs of patients with all abilities.
”Working out of our current location really restricts the opportunity for us to see more patients,” says Horizon’s De Smet Dental Clinic provider Alicia Adkins. “Serving my community is very important to me and in the new clinic we’ll be able to provide patients with quality, timely dental care with an even higher level of service.”
Horizon plans on recruiting for an additional dentist, as well as pursuing further involvement and partnerships with dental students. The economic impact of the new community health center will result in four new jobs, growing the organization’s De Smet staff to 20 full-time positions.
The grant funding will help Horizon address the growing need for dental access in South Dakota. The access problem is driven by multiple factors, including a shortage of dentists and the fact that many dentists do not accept Medicaid-enrolled children.
Community health centers are helping address this problem by providing primary and preventive care to populations in areas with provider shortages. Using a patient-centered model of care that considers behavioral, dental and medical health care needs also lowers health care costs by reducing the frequency of expensive specialty or emergency room visits.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, with more than half of South Dakotans living in rural areas, the delivery of health services to rural and medically underserved communities is critical to the overall health and well-being of South Dakota residents.
The grant is part of a series of capital investments that are made available to community health centers under the Affordable Care Act, which provides $9.5 billion to expand services over five years and $1.5 billion to support major construction and renovation projects at community health centers.
For more than 35 years, Horizon, headquartered in Howard, S.D., has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 75,000 patient visits annually in 17 community health centers in: Bryant, De Smet, Howard, Huron, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Springfield, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. PB
Kristi Atkinson is the marketing coordinator for Horizon Health Care Inc. Reach her at email@example.com or call 605-539-1778.
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