Feds award $3.4 million boost to Utah health clinics

Fourth Street Clinic to add much needed dental, substance abuse services

Published: Tuesday, May 1 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

One of those partners, Salt Lake Donated Dental Services, provides free or low-cost services to those meeting eligibility requirements. But they can't meet the need alone. In 2009, the organization performed 12,144 procedures, the majority of which were basic preventive or restorative measures. More than 32 percent of the procedures, however, were extractions and patients received an average of four procedures per visit, according to a Donated Dental Web page.

The new grant, which will cover only construction and supplies for the Fourth Street Clinic, is part of more than $728 million doled out across the United States to support renovation and construction projects, boost health centers' ability to care for additional patients and create jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Mountainlands Community Health Center in Payson also received $500,000 to purchase additional supplies and help get more patients in the door.

"For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment of chronic diseases," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "This investment will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country."

According to a report released Tuesday, the health care law has supported the construction, renovation and building of 257 health centers nationwide. The influx of funding is estimated to provide access to an additional 860,000 patients in need.

"This will definitely be a step in the right direction as far as moving people out of the ER," Youngquist said.

Twenty-two jobs will be supported during the projected eight months of construction at the clinic. The clinic will then be in need of dentists to provide care to those in need. An agreement is in the works for students at Utah's two dental schools, Roseman University and the University of Utah, to provide some of the work, leaving the eight full-time medical providers at the clinic to handle more patients.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com Twitter: wendyleonards

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