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Community collaboration strengthens La Crosse area dental access

Community collaboration strengthens La Crosse area dental access
Thursday, August 13, 2020

Community dental clinic

Local healthcare leaders and generous donors are bringing dental care closer to home for patients in La Crosse County.

A new dental clinic, operated by Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers, is set to open September 3, 2020, next to Gundersen Health System's La Crosse Campus.

Purchased by Gundersen through the support of a grant from the Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation, the dental clinic will be in the lower level of the Smile Care Dental Center. Renovations are expected to be complete later this month, with Scenic Bluffs offering services out of the clinic in September. The dental clinic will initially be open one day per week, with expanded access expected in the coming months. This will be a new choice for patients who previously had to travel to Scenic Bluffs' dental clinics in Cashton and Viroqua.

Gundersen Health System logo and Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers logo

As a federally qualified health center (FQHC), Scenic Bluffs is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) corporation that delivers primary healthcare services in underserved areas, with a focus on reducing barriers to healthcare.

"Scenic Bluffs is passionate about our work, which is grounded in prevention of disease and staying well. Our team works together, creatively bringing services that attend to the individual needs of each person as they come to us, reducing barriers and focusing on healthcare access, regardless of circumstances," says Mari Freiberg, CEO, Scenic Bluffs. "This partnership allows us to bring care close to home for La Crosse area residents who depend on us for services. We are so pleased to be in La Crosse again with dental care."

"Oral health and access to dental care are important aspects of improving the health of our communities," shares Kraig Schuster, vice president, Team 4. "Finding ways to improve access to dental care for the underserved in our community is an important part of our Gundersen's population health strategy. Early access to dental care has been shown to improve quality of life and significantly impact many chronic illnesses, which decreases the financial cost of healthcare."

Scenic Bluffs has been working with many in the La Crosse community for years, even taking part in a La Crosse dental access coalition more than 15 years ago. The coalition was rooted in spirit of collaboration and interest in solving issues of dental access challenges in the area.

"Thanks to the collaborative approach with Scenic Bluffs and the philanthropic investment by generous donors, our community will have another option to access necessary dental care," says Mandy Nogle, director, Development, Gundersen Medical Foundation. "This collaboration showcases the power of philanthropy and the giving spirit of the people of our community. It's a winning combination when the resources are combined for the benefit of all. It is uplifting to see this kind of strategic philanthropy in action."

"This unique partnership with Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation, Gundersen Health System, Gundersen Medical Foundation and Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers will help provide needed access to dental care for individuals with Medicaid coverage in the region," says Doug Ballweg, president and CEO, Delta Dental of Wisconsin. "We look forward to our collaboration and closing the gap to dental care for our most vulnerable populations."

Scenic Bluffs accepts Wisconsin Medicaid, Medicare, most private insurance, and cares for those without insurance. Additionally, Scenic Bluffs offers a sliding-fee scale program, available to those with or without insurance, which may reduce the cost of care to those who qualify. Qualifications are based-on the individual's household size and income.

Scenic Bluffs has Health Centers in both Cashton and Norwalk, dental services in Cashton, La Crosse and Viroqua, and behavioral health services in La Crosse. For more information on services provided, visit scenicbluffs.org. To learn how Gundersen Medical Foundation and Gundersen Health System partner with donors to improve the health and well-being of our community, visit gundersenhealth.org/foundation.

This community dental clinic is made possible through a collaboration between Gundersen Health System and the Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers along with the following generous donors

Delta Dental Foundation of Wisconsin 

  • Antioch Foundation
  • Otto Bremer Trust
  • Dairyland Power Cooperative
  • Anonymous Donor
  • Sarah & Brent Gephart Sr.
  • Great Rivers United Way
  • La Crosse Community Foundation
  • John & Linda Lyche
  • Marie Miller in memory of Dr. Gerald Miller
  • Mayo Clinic Health System
  • Anonymous Donor
  • Robert & Diane Reinhart
  • Russell L. & Vera M. Smith Private Foundation
  • PMG Foundation, Inc.
  • Wanda Ducharme, MD
  • Edgar Storey
  • Drs. Joseph & Suzanne Toce
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