Dental clinic to open soon on St. Croix
Published: September 29, 2012
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ST. CROIX - Low-cost dental care soon will be available again in the Christiansted area, when Frederiksted Health Care opens its Dental Site East next month in the Easterly Building in Golden Rock.
Officials gathered Friday for a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony at the new dental clinic, which they expect to open on Oct. 9.
In February, Frederiksted Health Care started its new on-site dental program at its Ingeborg-Nesbitt Clinic in Frederiksted.
The program will provide a low-cost alternative for those who are uninsured or underinsured. It offers services on a sliding scale fee, based on ability to pay. The clinic also takes insured patients.
Officials said residents inundated the program shortly after it opened in February.
Then, that same month, the V.I. Health Department closed its dental clinic at Charles Harwood Medical Complex and dismissed its dental health employees.
After that, even more people came to Frederiksted Health Care for dental services.
"The people of Christiansted came knocking at our door," Dr. Talia Moses, chief dental officer at Frederiksted Health Care, said during Friday's ceremony.
Since that time, Frederiksted Health Care has been working to fill the void left in low-cost dental services on the island's eastern side.
Jason Henry of Frederiksted Health Care said that since February, Moses has seen more than 1,500 dental patients, with more than 800 on a waiting list.
The new dental clinic in Golden Rock should ease that burden, once it opens, officials said.
Lutheran HealthCare, which already had purchased dental equipment in 2007 for a proposed dental residency program at Luis Hospital, donated that equipment to the new clinic in Golden Rock. The money for the equipment had come through a grant.
There were, however, multiple delays in implementing a dental residency program at Luis - and the equipment sat unused for years.
Carolyn Gray, a Lutheran HealthCare consultant, said on Friday that officials now hope to start the dental residency program with Frederiksted Health Care instead. Under such a program, dentists who are doing their residency training would come to work at the clinic.
Lutheran HealthCare hopes to begin that program in July, Gray said.
However, the new dental clinic is not dependent on the residency program.
Dr. Denyse Colbert will be working in the Christiansted location when the dental clinic opens next month, Henry said. Officials anticipate the clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday initially.
Frederiksted Health officials hope to bring another dentist on staff soon and expand the service hours further, Henry said.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.