Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC), a Federally Qualified Health Center, announced the expansion of their dental program in collaborative partnership with North Country Hospital, Village of Orleans and Green Mountain United Way.

Green Mountain United Way is the most recent community partner to offer support for the new Dental Center in Orleans. Nelson Baker of Green Mountain United Way presented Michelle Tetreault, the Director of Dental Operations at NCHC a check for $2500.

The Green Mountain United Way donation will be used to purchase an essential piece of equipment, an intra-oral camera. This item will allow any of the NCHC dentists that are off-site to see electronically, in real time, what the patients’ needs are and recommend treatment. This item will also demonstrate to the patients the condition of their oral health. This tool is used in educating the patients of the importance of good oral health and how it relates to them.

The Village of Orleans owns the site of a former medical office building on Union Street, and offered the site for the location of the dental center.

North Country Hospital pledged $100,000 in financial support toward construction costs.

In January 2015, North Country Hospital completed its community needs assessment, which identified access to dental care as one of the biggest challenges facing people living in Orleans County.

Did you know?

• In Orleans County, 65% of adults aged 45-64 have had tooth extractions compared to the State average of 52%

• 10% of adult residents have lost ALL permanent teeth due to decay or disease

• Only 39% of the population is served by community public water systems that have optimally fluoridated water vs. a State average of 56%.

• In 2014, of the Medicaid-eligible Vermonters in the Newport area aged 19-64, only 23% received preventative dental services.

“Our Goal,” says Shawn Tester, CEO of NCHC, “is to expand access to affordable dental services for people living in the Barton/Orleans area in order to improve their quality of life.” Working together with North Country Hospital and the Village of Orleans, the three organizations applied for grant funding. The grant will cover the cost of operations for a New Orleans Dental Center for up to two years. NCHC is covering the balance of the construction costs. “Northern Counties Health Care has a strong track record of providing essential primary and preventative care services to the citizens of the Northeast Kingdom,” said North Country Hospital President Claudio Fort. “We are pleased to be a part of this important initiative to bring critically needed dental services to the Orleans/Barton community.”

With an identified acute need and an innovative collaborative approach to solving the dental challenges, NCHC was awarded the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Dental Grant in June 2016, and construction began immediately. “Our Grant stipulates a very narrow window to become operational and see our first patient,” says Tester. “John Morley with North Country Hospital and Village of Orleans have really bent over backwards to help us meet our deadlines—they are a great partner to work with.”

Once operational, the Orleans Dental Center will employ a dentist, hygienist, dental assistant, receptionist and office supervisor. The practice will have two Operatories and two hygiene rooms. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, NCHC is committed to provide services to all members of our communities, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Orleans County Dental Center will accept Medicaid insurance as well as offer a sliding fee scale to make dental services more affordable.

The Orleans Dental Center expects to serve at least 500 new patients within the first year of operations and expects to be operational by December 2016. Folks interested in becoming patients of the NEW Orleans Dental Clinic can call 802-754-6973 for more information.


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