NMTC Expanding Rural Dental Services
A significant percentage of rural NMTC projects expand healthcare access to rural Americans through new clinics and facilities. But it’s not just hospitals. The NMTC has expanded access to affordable dental services to tens of thousands of rural Americans.
Often, dental services are included as part of a comprehensive healthcare campus, though the NMTC has also financed smaller dental offices, sometimes by the dozens. In fact, through 2017, NMTC projects have expanded dental services at 58 clinics serving 220,000 rural patients in low-income communities. Below are a few of those stories.
Dental Shortage in Rural America
Rural America has too few dentists — and too few patients who can pay. About 43 percent of rural Americans lack access to dental care, according to the National Rural Health Association. Read more in the Washington Post.
Advantage Dental Develops Nine Clinics in Rural, Low-Income Areas of Oregon
LA PINE, OR- Oct 9, 2014 – A cooperative of dentists providing health care to rural and low-income Oregonians is using $21 million to expand its network of clinics, creating more than 70 permanent jobs in the process.
Advantage Dental, a network of over 30 unaffiliated clinics, used a mix of Oregon and federal New Markets Tax Credits to develop nine new clinics. Seven of those — in John Day, Brookings, Albany, Milton-Freewater, Sutherlin, Canyonville and La Pine — are now open. A clinic in Coos Bay and a facility in Lebanon will open later this fall.
The additional clinics will expand access to dental health services in communities where there often are fewer providers accepting low-income patients for treatment.
“Many less fortunate Oregonians will have access to dental care because of this program,” said Mike Shirtcliff, DMD, president and CEO of Advantage Dental. “Oregon communities will benefit as well from this project with the addition of family-wage jobs with benefits.”
Headquartered in Central Oregon, Advantage Dental addresses the needs of more than 300,000 Oregon Health Plan patients through a number of clinics in rural Oregon and in partnership with providers who meet quality and compliance standards for the program.
State Rep. Mike McLane, whose district includes La Pine and other communities in Central Oregon, said the facilities will provide jobs as well as dental care for community members who might otherwise struggle to get it.
“I am proud to have been a part of the program that allowed investments in the Advantage Dental clinic in La Pine,” McLane said. “It is a community with pride and passion that doesn’t forget those who are struggling to make ends meet. I know the clinic will add much needed jobs but it will also help those who are having a tough time getting dental care for their families.”
The federal and Oregon New Markets Tax Credit programs are designed to enable job growth and retention in communities that historically have been underserved by traditional sources of investment capital.
The nine clinics received a combination of Oregon New Markets Tax Credits and federal NMTCs for this project, which will provide an estimated 73 permanent jobs in addition to many more temporary positions.
NMTC Brings Needed Dental and Behavioral Care to Whatcom County, WA
August 7, 2018 — The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) today announced the completion of its first financing in Washington State: a $15.2 million project that answers an urgent need for dental and behavioral health care.
The financing enables Unity Care Northwest (UCNW), a federally qualified health center serving patients in Whatcom County, to address northwest Washington’s dentist shortage that has left 45,000 people unable to access dental services. Nearly one in five uninsured individuals in the area are not served by a health center at all.
Among the features of UCNW’s new 23,500-square-foot facility, to be completed in June 2019:
- 12 exam rooms, 12 dental operatories, and a pharmacy
- Six additional dental providers
- Five specialty behavioral health rooms, two large conference rooms, and additional rooms for future expansion
- Lab services and medication-assisted therapy for alcohol and substance use disorders