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Dental clinic may stay open in Caroline

The Caroline dental program run by the Department of Health likely won’t have to close its doors after all. 

Central Virginia Health Services, a nonprofit that operates community health centers around the state, is hoping to take over the program.

The dental clinics in Caroline, Spotsylvania and Stafford were all notified previously that they would have to close their doors at the end of July due to budget constraints at the Department of Health.

Bowling Green Town Manager Stephen Manster is on the board of CVHS and brought it to the attention of Roderick Manifold, the executive director.

Manifold said they scrambled quickly to see what they could do to take it over.

“This is a wonderful program that has been at work in the community, that has been there over 10 years, and it seems to be working very well. And we believe we can work with the community because it is such a community-supported program,” Manifold said.

He said that because of the federal grants the program receives, it will have to alter its scope of services and get permission from the Health Resources and Services Administration to take over the program.

That is a 60-day process that will begin as soon as the many components fall into place.

That includes getting financial and written support from the county, the school system and the department of social services.

“It would be our intention to let the program continue at the same location in the same building they are in now,” Manifold said.

The county owns the building and would allow the program to continue to be run there.

The program costs $250,000 to $260,000 each fiscal year, Manifold said.

But the majority of that is paid for through Medicaid reimbursement.

The rest, about $30,000, would need to be covered by the county annually.

Manifold will speak in front of the Board of Supervisors at its meeting Monday.

The Caroline clinic opened in 2003 after a committee of representatives from the health department, social services and school system pointed out that the county lacked dental care for its children.

With an $80,000 grant from the Virginia Healthcare Foundation—and lots of community support—the clinic opened three days a week. Since then, the program has expanded to four days per week and serves children from age 1 through 12th grade.

Manifold said that it is their hope, under the management of CVHS, to be able to hire the current staff, including Dr. Elizabeth Barrett, the clinic’s dentist.

Manifold said some of the dental assistants who are part time may become full time.

One of the reasons Manifold said that they wanted to help out the Caroline clinic is because it’s already got all the pieces in place.

“In this case, the Caroline system, it has the sort of magic of various pieces of the community already supporting it,” he said.

Central Virginia Health Services already has an office in Caroline County, the Caroline Family Practice on Broaddus Avenue in Bowling Green.

The nonprofit operates 14 community health centers including the Caroline location, one in Westmoreland, one in Fredericksburg and one in Louisa.

Of the 14, 10 have dental programs, Manifold said.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413


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