Plans for a proposed dental clinic for underinsured and uninsured clients are moving forward as scheduled, and private dentists will get representation on the clinic's governing body.
"What has happened in conjunction with the community meeting we had was an increased dialogue with other agencies in the community," said Stan Steadman, the chief planner of the clinic and the executive director of Central Peninsula Health Centers Inc. "It has allowed us to understand how this service fits in with the needs of the area."
A forum held last month to rally support for the facility and encourage state officials to move forward with funding plans hasn't produced results from state officials yet, he said.
Steadman said since the forum, clinic planners have had communications with area dentists, and one of their interests is that a representative serve on CPHC Inc. board. The nine-member board of directors, which oversees the Cotton-wood Health Clinic and will guide the new facility's activities, will grow to 11 members.
The board meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Cottonwood. It will vote on candidates to fill the two new board positions as well as a third position that has recently come open. Board chair Deric Marcorelle said one of those three board members will be a private dentist.
Steadman said the board is accepting applications for members, and he said there are other committees within CPHC Inc. that need volunteers.
"One reason we're expanding is to give an opportunity to the providers to be a part of the process," he said. "There were a lot of people who appeared at the meeting. We're encouraging people to step forward."
Steadman said a requirement of federal and state agencies funding CPHC Inc. is board membership must be made up of 51 percent of the the clinic's consumers.
"The whole intent is that the consumers have the majority voice," he said.
Efforts of CPHC Inc. to open the dental clinic in Kenai by March 1 are running according to schedule, Steadman said. He said getting all of the needed equipment to begin operating is the most visible obstacle, but said he feels the clinic will be "pretty close to our open date."
Though there are still some funding issues which remain unresolved -- primarily a state-supported ProShare grant of about $570,00 which would pay the balance of the building in full --Steadman said the clinic already has about $432,000 in hand to cover operations and pay for equipment.
That figure includes a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Bureau of Primary Health Care and $132,000 from the Denali Commission. In the meantime, Steadman said the building, at the corner of Main Street and Barnacle Way, will be leased from the owner until it can be purchased outright.
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