Health Center News, Uncategorized

More Kids Gain Access to Dental Care On Maryland’s Eastern Shore

By Micah Clemens

As part of National Health Center Week, the Fassett Magee Health Center held an open house on Tuesday in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce. The Fassett Magee Health Center is in the heart of Cambridge, a city of 12,000 on Maryland’s eastern shore. It’s one of seven health center locations in the Choptank Community Health System, which serves urban and rural communities in Mid-Shore region of Maryland, along the Choptank River and the Chesapeake Bay.

This clean and modern health center is housed in what used to be a grocery store. In 2010, they received funds from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to add a dental center to the existing Community Health Center. They now have seven chairs to primarily treat children up to age 21 and expectant mothers. They also offer flexibility to treat patients with urgent dental needs, usually first thing the following morning, but occasionally even on the same day. One of the dental exam rooms is large enough to serve patients in wheelchairs without having to use the dental chair.

Dr. Kathy Whelton, DMD said, “We love it. We have seven beautiful operatories, a brand new clinic that opened in January [2011]. We are very busy, but we know the need is still out there, so we are taking new patients every day.” One reason why there is a greater need for children is because they typically take longer to treat for routine dental procedures. Unfortunately, some dentists in the area won’t take children as patients since that greater time-commitment cuts into the total number of patients they can see in a day.

Board Member Austin Webster said that 80 percent of the patients at Choptank Community Health Centers have insurance, so now they are reaching out in the community to “not just to work in the moderate to low-income community, where the need is there, but we want to be anybody and everybody’s hometown doctor.”