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St. John's Hospital Set To Open Dental Only Clinic

Construction is set to start Tuesday on the Central Counties Dental-Only Clinic inside of St. John's Hospital. (WICS)

Construction is set to start Tuesday on the Central Counties Dental-Only Clinic inside of St. John's Hospital.

It's been an idea in the works for several years. The hospital was trying to find ways to better meet the needs of dental patients in the ER. They decided on installing a one-room dental clinic inside of the hospital. The idea is to make these resources more accessible to patients who need it -- a need that is continuing to grow every year. Staffers say just last year, more than 2,000 patients came into the emergency room with dental pain.

"What happens is they'll come to the ER, they'll be in pain, they'll have infections, they'll get prescription for an antibiotic, they'll get a prescription for a pavement, they'll be told to follow up with their dentist, but they never do. Most of the time for the uninsured population, they don't have a regular dentist to go to," said Heather Burton, CEO of Central County Health Centers.

Staffers say these services will be available to all patients which will be primarily the Medicaid and the uninsured population. The one-room dental only clinic received a grant for $350,000 to get off the ground. That money will get the clinic through its first year and cover salaries, startup costs and equipment. Staffers say after this first year, it will be self-sustaining through Medicaid. The clinic is set to open as early as October.

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