CHS to finish oral care expansion

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Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News (From left): Community Health Systems Purchasing Manager Dina Douglas and Dental Assistant Amber Metz stand in one of the future dental exam rooms at CHS. The group received a grant worth $350,000 for hiring new dentists.

BELOIT — Community Health Systems will finish construction on its oral care facility expansion at the end of this month at the Beloit Area Community Health Center, according to administrative staff.

The $275,000 renovation project is funded in part by a federal grant for improving dental services. CHS applied for the grant in January 2016, and construction on the project began in September. The expansion will add two new dentists, boosting CHS’s total to five, along with four dental hygienists.

The expanded facility will open in June, after CHS has hired new dentists, in line with the graduation season for new doctors. The grant will help pay for the new team members’ salaries.

“Once we get our new dentists in, we will be good to go,” said CHS Director of Operations Ruth Amenda.

The three-year grant will give CHS $350,000 annually until 2019, and $150,000 was allocated for the dental unit expansion. The three-phase project will renovate the front desk reception area, four new exam rooms and add new office spaces to CHS. The health care group added funding to repaint and add new carpeting throughout the entire facility, Amenda said.

“We are excited about offering more comprehensive services to the local community,” Amenda said.

The income-based, quality care facility is dealing with a backlog of hundreds of patients in need of dental work, she added. The problem is not specific to Beloit, and impacts health systems across the country.

“We’re seeing people go to the emergency room with severe dental problems,” Amenda said. “That’s why we’ve partnered with Beloit Health Systems and Mercy Health System to get emergency room data to better understand the problem, while showcasing the need for expanded services.”

CHS used the emergency room data while applying for the grant, which was written mostly by CHS staff, Amenda said.

“We were really proud of getting that, it was a great effort,” she said.

Angus Young Architecture of Janesville designed the expansion, and Klobucar Construction will finish work on the project. To learn more about CHS, visit chsofwi.org.

Community Health Systems also has facilities in Janesville and Darlington.

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