Dental coalition in Craig to merge with Northwest Colorado Health | CraigDailyPress.com

Dental coalition in Craig to merge with Northwest Colorado Health

Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition will begin to dissolve its business as of March 1 and Northwest Colorado Health will begin the process of taking ownership of the building located at 485 Yampa Ave. in Craig as part of a plan to provide low-cost dental care in the region.

— In a joint announcement made Monday, Northwest Colorado Health will acquire Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition to expand low-cost dental care to people throughout the region.

"The biggest goal of the board of the dental coalition was to make sure that this community has better, more access to dental care," said Gisela Garrison, president of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition Board of Directors who also works for Northwest Colorado Health.

An interim agreement will transfer dental coalition operations to Northwest Colorado Health on March 1.

"My primary role will be to help have a smooth transition," said Coalition Interim Executive Director Janie Dunckley who also is employed by Northwest Colorado Health. "We won't have an disruptions to current services and want to make sure it is a smooth transition without any downtime to ensure people have their dental care."

Northwest Colorado Health will assume only the liabilities related to the mortgage of the building at 485 Yampa Ave. It will not assume any other liabilities of the Dental Coalition.

"The Dental Coalition has been financially and developmentally very stable. Northwest Colorado Health would not have taken on a failing entity," Garrison said.

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The organizations’ legal teams are working on a closing date, and the details of the transaction are not yet available, Garrison said.

Dental coalition staff will have an opportunity to apply for work with Northwest Colorado Health.

"We are having a hiring fair and will interview their staff for available positions with our organization," said Northwest Colorado Health CEO Lisa Brown.

Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition is low-cost dental safety net organization that serves about 300 people per month.

"The dental safety net provides urgent and basic care for millions of Americans facing barriers to access," according to the American Dental Education Association website.

Dental safety net services have since late last year also been provided by South Routt Medical Center, as reported in Steamboat Today.

Northwest Colorado Health gained approval in 2016 from the U.S. Health Resource Services Administration to provide comprehensive dental services at all their sites.

"The role of a community health center is providing comprehensive services including mental and oral health services. We can directly provide services or contract or refer the services. So what we are doing is increasing our direct service provision for oral health services in Northwest Colorado," Brown said.

As a Federally Qualified Health Center, Northwest Colorado Health receives expanded Medicaid reimbursement, the opportunity to apply for federal grants to support the program and other benefits that would not have been available to the dental coalition, Garrison said.

Such changes will not increase costs to current or perspective patients.

"We see anybody regardless of ability to pay. We use a specific, board-approved, sliding-fee scale based on family size and income," Brown said.

Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition patients and others seeking low cost dental care should continue to call 970-824-8000 to schedule an appointment.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.