On Monday, we celebrated the opening of our newest site, HealthNet Barrington Health & Dental Center, on the near southeast side of Indy. With 26,000 square feet across two floors and 43 brand new exam rooms, the building will ultimately become the medical home for more than 9,000 people inIndianapolis who seek high quality, primary health care.
The old Barrington Health Center outgrew its space nearly five years ago, in response to community need. Thanks to $5.1 million in federal stimulus funding, the new facility, built right next door, quadruples the health center’s former size and capacity.
Pam was the first patient to walk in on Monday. She’s been coming to the old Barrington Health Center for over 15 years. In fact, three generations of her family have made it their “health care home.”
“Barrington has been a big help to me and my family. They have been doing a great job here,” Pam said with a smile.
As she stopped by for a routine check-up, Pam was pleased to experience first hand the center’s new services, more exam rooms, better parking, and inviting atmosphere – along with the same great medical providers and staff she’s come to trust over the years. “This is really exciting for our community,” she said.
Wiley, a 72-year-old retiree, echoed Pam’s comments. On Monday he was the health center’s very first dental patient. The expansion brought the opportunity to add a state-of-the-art, six-operatory dental center – a first for this community.
Wiley came in because he lost his lower dentures and has been making do without them – for more than a year. They’re expensive to replace, he said, and finding affordable options has been a challenge.
Wiley isn’t alone. Last year the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 33 percent of people surveyed skipped dental care or dental checkups because they couldn’t afford them. Approximately 108 million Americans lack dental insurance, more than twice as many as lack medical insurance. Roughly 10,000 people in Marion County are without access to dental care, with cost being the primary factor.
Many people avoid the dentist’s office out of fear, but some don’t go because they can’t afford it.
Now more than ever, health centers are a critical source of affordable oral health services to those with the highest burden of disease and unmet need.
On Monday, Wiley visited HealthNet’s fifth and newest dental center to see about finally getting some new teeth. Although he lives alone, Wiley loves to cook. But there’s only so much you can do to make a meal nutritious and appetizing when everything you eat has to be soft. “There are so many things I just can’t eat right now,” he said.
Wiley is already looking forward to savoring his first meal once his new teeth are ready. He plans to chow down on a steak – or meat of any kind! – a salad – and fresh, Indiana corn on the cob.
Bon appétit, Wiley! We’re glad to be in the neighborhood to help.
Learn more about the new HealthNet Barrington Health & Dental Center!
Click here to see photos from our grand opening celebration for staff!