Washtenaw County Public Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System announced plans for a Washtenaw County Dental Clinic, slated to open in January 2015. The Dental Clinic will serve residents who have Medicaid dental coverage or who are without insurance and low income. It will be located in the Haab Building at 111 N. Huron Street in downtown Ypsilanti. At full capacity the eleven-chair clinic will serve an estimated 6,000 patients per year with 15,000 clinic visits.
“With the help of our partners – we’re thrilled to see this project moving forward,” says acting health officer Ellen Rabinowitz. “The clinic fills a void, and the impact will be tremendous. Of course, we’ll see improvements in oral health among our most vulnerable residents, but, importantly, we’ll also see related improvements in physical health, employability, reduced ER visits and so forth.”
Washtenaw County Public Health will contract with Michigan Community Dental Clinics to operate the facility. Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is generously providing space in its Haab Building. The Washtenaw Health Plan is contributing to the startup costs – as is Public Health. As a local health department, Public Health will be eligible for additional federal funds to supplement Medicaid reimbursement rates, an opportunity that will sustain the clinic into the future.
The first floor space in the Haab Building was not being actively used when Saint Joseph Mercy Health System learned of Washtenaw County Public Health's plans to open a Washtenaw County Dental Clinic.
"We're so pleased to be able to contribute to this important community program," said Michael Miller, Jr., chief mission officer, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. "Increasing access to healthcare and working with the public health department and other community groups to promote the common good goes hand- in-hand with our mission."
The full-service dental clinic will join the Neighborhood Family Health Center, a patient-centered medical home serving many underinsured and uninsured residents in the Ypsilanti community, making the Haab Building a one-stop destination for community health care.
In the coming months, contracts will be finalized with Michigan Community Dental Clinics, which operates 22 dental clinics on behalf of local public health departments throughout Michigan, and with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System for the use of the Haab Building. Renovations will begin in the summer and continue into the fall.