‘Blessing in disguise’? | CraigDailyPress.com

‘Blessing in disguise’?

Dental Coalition gets consulting help

The loss of its dentist may turn out to be a “blessing in disguise” for the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, Director Debi Harmon said.

After hearing about the dentist’s departure, one of the nonprofit’s largest grantors has offered to pay for consulting work to prevent that from happening again and to develop a strategic plan for personnel issues.

“We’re very excited for this project,” said Linda Reiner, of the Caring for Colorado Foundation, which already has donated $475,000 toward starting the dental clinic.

“We want to see it succeed, and we know it will,” she said.

The new clinic for the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition was starting to treat its patients when its dentist quit, though about 40 appointments had been lined up.

Dr. Al Woods of the Marillac Clinic in Grand Junction has been contracted as a consultant to the Craig-based clinic. The Grand Junction dental clinic primarily serves the needs of uninsured, migrant, homeless and disabled populations, according to its Web site.

Reiner said Woods took a personal interest in helping the Craig clinic. She also said Woods’ expertise could help to locate a new dentist that would be a good fit.

Other new developments for the Craig clinic will include a rotation of dental students from Northwestern Colorado Community College in Rangely, Harmon said. Those students can help with the prevention aspect of the clinic’s plan, she said.

Harmon said that if the clinic started accepting patients today, it could be booked for months. That is an example of the need in the area.

The clinic is open to children ages infant to 21 years who qualify under Medicaid or the state’s Child Health Plan Plus. People without dental insurance will be charged on a sliding scale if they qualify under the center’s low-income guidelines, Harmon said. The clinic will serve residents in a five-county district including Routt, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson counties.

The clinic is planning a June 7 grand opening largely to honor volunteers and workers who have donated their services, Harmon said.

“I’m amazed at how many people want to help,” she said.

“We’re picking up the pieces. We haven’t just stopped working, we’re moving forward.”

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