Scenic Bluffs to operate La Crosse dental clinic

A new dental clinic operated by Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers is set to open Sept. 3 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.

The dental clinic initially will 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.

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

Mari Freiberg, CEO of Scenic Bluffs, said, “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. 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.”

Kraig Schuster, vice president of Team 4, noted, “Oral health and access to dental care are important aspects of improving the health of our communities. 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, according to a press release prepared by Scenic Bluffs.

Mandy Nogle, director of the Gundersen Medical Foundation, said, “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. 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.”

Doug Ballweg, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Wisconsin, noted, “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. We look forward to our collaboration and closing the gap to dental care for our most vulnerable populations.”

Scenic Bluffs accepts Wisconsin Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurance and cares for those without insurance.

Additionally, to those with or without insurance, Scenic Bluffs offers a sliding-fee scale program, which may reduce the cost of care to those who qualify, 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 the Gundersen Medical Foundation and the Gundersen Health System partner with donors, visit gundersenhealth.org/foundation.

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