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Location could complement proposed collaborative health-care clinic

The Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center at 2935 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd. has provided primary health care to underserved populations in Beaverton for nearly a decade.

Local residents however, have had to travel to Hillsboro, Cornelius or McMinnville to have their teeth cleaned and treated. Those visits will become considerably more convenient this spring, when the center plans to open its Beaverton Dental Clinic at The Round at Beaverton Central.

Scheduled to open in March in currently vacant space just west of Mingo restaurant, the clinic — staffed with two dentists and a part-time hygienist — is expected to serve more than 2,500 patients each year.

The clinic has been in the planning stages for about two years, said Lisa Bozzetti, Virginia Garcia’s dental program director. The new location fills a conspicuous gap in the center’s dental service facilities while furthering the center’s goal of easy access.

“The Round is really great, location-wise, with the proximity to the transit center, the MAX train and buses,” she said. “One of the main things we look at in terms of sites is how patients make it to our site. We want to make sure public transportation options are close by.”

Patient surveys indicate more than 1,000 patients at the Hillsboro dental clinic at 730 S.E. Seventh Ave. have Beaverton addresses.

“We know there’s a huge need, and that patients are traveling to see us,” Bozzetti said. “When we do patient satisfaction surveys, patients always ask for a Beaverton dental clinic. It’s nice to have something closer to home.”

With Virginia Garcia’s dental clinics geared toward insured and uninsured children up to age 21, the center seeks to accommodate increased demand for care as provisions of the Affordable Care Act open up health-insurance coverage and Oregon’s Medicaid eligibility expands.

“With all the new patients coming online, and with the new insurance benefits available, people are having access to dental insurance who had not had access before,” she said.

If a proposal to establish a collaborative health-care clinic to benefit medically underserved populations comes to fruition, Virginia Garcia’s dental clinic could serve as a neighboring complement to the center, whose leading location is the former Westgate Theater property the city of Beaverton owns immediately west of the Round complex.

The collaborative would bring agencies including Virginia Garcia, Women’s Healthcare Associates, Providence ElderPlace, Lifeworks NW and Pacific University under one roof.

“That is a little ways down the road, but it’s something we’ve been thinking about,” Bozzetti said, noting there is flexibility in the dental clinic’s lease that would allow moving into the partnership facility if it were established there. “The amazing part of the collaborative would be getting those organizations under one roof. “

Founded 38 years ago, Virginia Garcia’s four primary care clinics, three dental clinics, four school-based health centers and mobile outreach clinic have 350 employees and a budget of more than $36 million. The Beaverton clinic, which opened in 2004, delivers primary health care and pharmacy services to more than 7,800 patients — many of whom face financial and insurance barriers to health care service elsewhere — each year.

Bozzetti looks forward to setting up shop at The Round and making sure those with dental needs are aware of the new location.

“I’m so excited to see this access point come to fruition,” she said. “I know the community is really excited about it. We’re trying to get the word out as best we can, so we can get these services out to those who need it.”

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