Using a $100,000 grant from the Delta Dental Foundation and money from the American Rescue Plan, the health center will expand from four to six dental operatories in 2022 — increasing appointment capacity from 4,400 to 6,600 per year, according to news release sent by the organization.
LSCHC opened its practice at 210 3rd St. in Carlton in August 2020. Due to a shortage of dental services, particularly for low-income residents, the practice rapidly reached capacity, the news release said, and the organization quickly began evaluating options to expand.
The expansion project highlights the health center’s continued effort to improve access to high-quality, affordable dentistry, the news release said.
The expansion will increase the organization’s capacity for dental services by 50%. The rehabilitation project will also modernize the structure in downtown Carlton, increase energy efficiency and provide potential future opportunities for expanded access to the health center’s universally accessible medical, behavioral health and chiropractic services currently available in Duluth and Superior.
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The organization’s leaders are currently waiting on an environmental assessment before construction can begin, said Lee Homan, LSCHC’s chief operating officer, in an email to the Pine Journal. Once construction gets underway, it should take 10-12 weeks to complete.
Officials do not expect the project to disrupt services at the Carlton health center, Homan said.
Initially, Delta Dental Foundation provided a $100,000 grant to help fund equipment to outfit the expansion. Then, when the American Rescue Plan was passed and included funds to expand Health Center infrastructure nationwide, LSCHC was able to get approval to use additional funding from the federal government to subsidize the important expansion, the news release said.
“We are so thankful to both Delta Dental Foundation and the Health Resources and Services Administration for acknowledging the importance of the services we provide in the communities we serve,” said Jessie Peterson, LSCHC’s chief executive officer. “We’re thrilled to be able to expand and better meet the need for affordable, accessible dentistry in Carlton County.”
LSCHC accepts all insurances — including Medicaid and Medicare — but those without insurance are welcome, as well. A sliding fee scale is available for everyone without access to coverage, and no one is turned away for an inability to pay.