Recovery Act USDA Community Facilities Funds Help Residents of Northern Wisconsin Receive Improved Dental Care
For people living in Northern Wisconsin, oral healthcare often gets neglected. The expense of visiting a dentist and the distance required to travel to receive quality care are factors that have made it difficult for rural Wisconsinites to receive the care they require. Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc. has seen this essential need in Wisconsin’s rural communities and has made it their mission to find a solution to provide greater access to proper dental care.
Their strategy? Build dental centers in areas with low accessibility and charge patients on a sliding scale based on their income.
USDA Rural Development has assisted the Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc. in their mission to bring affordable, quality oral healthcare to rural Wisconsin residents. Since 2008, the agency has funded four dental centers located in Park Falls, Neillsville, Rice Lake, and Medford. Through the USDA Rural Development Community Facility Loan Program, more than $5.4 million has been funded for the dental care facilities; and $2.5 million has been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).
The results have been remarkable. The Family Health Center’s network of dental clinics are seeing thousands of patients each year– many of whom would not be able to afford proper care or would have difficulty traveling the distance to receive services elsewhere.
“The approach we have adopted is to set up regional dental centers that have enough dental capacity to serve the low-income residents of the community and surrounding areas. To do this we needed to have access to capital to set up the infrastructure to serve the tens of thousands of patients who need help,” said Greg Nycz, Executive Director of Family Health Center of Marshfield.
“Not only do the clinics provide dental-care services, they build pride in the communities where they are located; they create permanent jobs, and they inspire hope and economic development,” said Stan Gruszynski, USDA Rural Development Wisconsin State Director. “USDA Rural Development is pleased to be a partner with the Family Health Center in creating a sustainable foundation for growth in rural Wisconsin.”
In Fiscal Year 2010 alone, nearly 10,000 patients, combined, were treated at the clinics in Park Falls, Neillsville and Medford. In addition to helping patients, the clinics also provide jobs and improve the economic sustainability for the communities.
Earlier today, Secretary Vilsack announced a number of Recovery Act-funded Community Facilities projects across America. To learn more about them click here.