Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers is getting three grants from the United Way of the Midlands to cover certain medical and dental services for low-income residents during the next fiscal year.
A $166,200 grant will help provide low-cost medical services for people with chronic health problems, including discounted lab, pharmacy and behavioral health services.
A $102,450 grant will go toward low-cost dental services, including dental exams, ex-rays, cleanings, fillings and tooth extractions.
And a $100,000 grant will be used to provide discounted dentures and denture repairs.
Cooperative spokesman Dean Slade says this will be the first year for funding to help with dentures, and the goal is to treat about 300 people.
“We call it the Denture Bank because the patients contribute toward their care and the United Way is making a matching contribution,” Slade explains.
“And it really is quite transformational. We tested this with a few patients last year and once you see that smile, you know that you've impacted somebody. And it's their smile, it's their happy.”
Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers operates two dental clinics – in Pelion in Lexington County and in Ridgeway in Fairfield County.
For all services, the medical organization operates at a total of 22 sites in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties with a goal of providing access to health care for people who otherwise would fall through cracks in the system.