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Chapa De takes up the load for low-cost dental care

The need for low-cost dental care in western Nevada County continues to grow, and Chapa De Indian Health Program Inc. has stepped forward to meet the large demand.

The clinic recently received almost 1,200 patients from the now-defunct Grass Valley Children’s Dental Clinic, which had provided services on Fridays for the past three years.

“We’re inundated with patients,” said Cathy Murchison, the clinic’s dental coordinator. “We’ll eventually have two dental clinics in Grass Valley.”



To meet the mounting patient load, Chapa De will remodel its dental clinic on East Main Street in Grass Valley and add three chairs, Murchison said Monday.

The second clinic will be at the new Chapa De medical building, being built up the hill on East Main at Sierra College Drive and slated for an August or September 2008 completion. This clinic will have six chairs for a total of 13 at both locations when the building and remodeling are done.




The two clinics and expanded hours are expected to shorten the wait for service for former patients of the children’s clinic.

At the existing location, Dr. Robert Millington and Dr. Matthew Woods see patients every weekday. Dr. Kyle Adams, who stayed on from the children’s dental clinic, is there on Fridays.

Although Chapa De is a health service for Native Americans, “we see all patients,” Murchison said. The clinic accepts Medi-Cal and dental insurance patients who are allowed to get their care where they want.

The dental clinic also takes cash and has a sliding pay scale for low-income people who qualify, Murchison said. The clinic also is applying to the state to begin providing services to Healthy Families patients.

Sierra Nevada Children’s Services hosted the Grass Valley Children’s Dental Clinic in Dr. Sean Avera’s Grass Valley office for low-income patients from May 2004 until a few weeks ago. The response was almost overwhelming, according to executive director Cori Bruce.

“It was always our intent to roll it over to a clinic that could bill,” Bruce said. “We really didn’t lose a program, we created one we had to pass on.

“We made a big impact reducing cavities and we will continue to educate (children) about dental care,” Bruce said.

The Sierra Family Medical Clinic helped handle the large patient load for a while, but transportation problems to the San Juan Ridge and the pressure it created on that operation forced the project to move to Chapa De, Bruce said. The ridge clinic continues to see its own dental patients, said Wendy Barnhart, director of operations.

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@the union.com or call 477-4237.

Chapa De dental services

Location: 1061 E. Main St., Grass Valley

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Contact: 477-6172


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