Larger space will let staff address an ‘unmet need,’ CEO says
Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
Work is underway on Resource Center’s new, expanded dental clinic serving low-income clients with HIV, with the new facility scheduled to open in mid-February, according to CEO Cece Cox.
“There is an unmet need that we have been aware of for awhile,” Cox said this week. “We know there are people who are eligible for the service [which is free of charge for those who qualify], but we have been limited in our ability to expand our services due to funding.
“We get funds [through the federal Ryan White program] to provide dental services to those with HIV. But we needed more money to do more,” she added. “I can tell you, it doesn’t feel good sitting in your office knowing there are people whose needs aren’t being met.”
Cox said that the money for the expansion is coming from the center’s 340B revenue. Money generated through that, she said, must be used to fund services for people eligible for assistance through the Ryan White program.
The second factor impeding the expansion has been space, Cox continued. “There’s just no room at the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic [on Cedar Springs Road]. We already have so much crammed into that space. We do a lot there, and we are very proud of what we are able to do there. But we are just out of space.”
The center solved that problem by locating a larger space elsewhere. The new, larger dental clinic is located on the second floor of a two-story building in an office park near the intersection of Forest and Abrams. Cox said she is excited about the opportunities it offers.
“Every single room where a patient would be seen has an outside window, which is wonderful,” she said. “A lot of people have anxiety about going to the dentist anyway, but this will be a much more calming and spacious environment.”
The new facility will have a larger reception area as well as room for staff meetings and training sessions, and more, she said, and it gives the center the option for further expansion in the future.
“We’ll have more treatment rooms for patients, so we will be able to see more patients. And we will add staff over time, too,” she said. “That’s not something we will do right away, but we will expand our staff so that we can see even more clients.
“Later on, we’ll see if we can provide services to the LGBTQ population as a whole, [independent of HIV status or income status],” Cox said. “But that is further on down the road.”
The dental clinic staff is “really excited” about the new facility, Cox said. “They take so much pride in being able to serve their clients. And it is really rewarding for me to see our staff so excited and so committed to serving our clients.”
She said there would be several opportunities for people to tour the new facility, including an open house planned for April.
“We are so grateful for the folks who have supported us in doing this,” Cox said. “It really feels good to see it happening.”