The Northside Christian Health Center expanded its services this summer to offer affordable and comprehensive dental services.
June 1, NCHC opened a dental clinic in the basement of its Deutschtown facility on Middle Street that was open three days a week.
“This has been a long, long, long time in the works,” said NCHC Executive Director Floyd Cephas.
NCHC offers health services to the Northside and other surrounding communities and gives patients alternative payment options that private clinics do not. Patients without dental or health insurance are given the option to pay a co pay for services that is based on their annual income.
As of September 1, the clinic is open five days a week and has a full-time dental assistant and dentist. The overall cost of installing the additional offices was about $150,000.
NCHC dentist, Dr. Lucia Corvato worked in private practice for 15 years before joining NCHC.
“It has been first of all, an eye opening experience,” said Corvato who was surprised by the amount of working class families driving in from the suburbs to NCHC because they had insufficient dental insurance or none at all.
“It’s nice to be a part of what I see as the reform of the healthcare system,” she said and noted that oral health was crucial to daily activities such as speaking and eating.
Previously, doctors at the healthcare center had to refer patients elsewhere for dental problems, but the dental clinic now allows the center to offer more comprehensive care.
“It’s been documented that good dental health is directly related to overall health,” said Cephas.
NCHC is also planning to bring Allegheny County Health Department’s Women, Infants, Children care program to the third floor of its faculty.
They expect to serve over 2,000 children once the center is open. They are currently waiting for WIC to sign the lease.
“We want to show the community we love them and how much we respect them by giving them a facility they deserve,” Cephas said.