A visit to the dentist's office is something many people dread, but New Matamoras resident Fancie Smith is actually looking forward to her December appointment with Dr. Dale White at the Southeastern Ohio Dental Clinic.
That's because the clinic has a new home and Smith, 33, is anxious to see it.
"It's a better building, better neighborhood and (has) better parking and I think it will have a more positive impact on the community - they'll view it as an equal opportunity dentist, not a welfare clinic," said Smith, whose daughter Lacie Smith, 7, is also a patient there.
Jeannie Farnsworth, computer coordinator with the Washington County Health Department, said the clinic opened Sept. 7 at 123 Third St. in Marietta. It was previously located at 1207 Gilman Ave. in Marietta.
"It gives us the opportunity to see more patients - there are two more operatories - it's a lot more accessible being downtown, much easier to find (and there's) more parking," she said. "Instead of the three chairs we had before, we can have five chairs."
The clinic is open to anyone, with fees determined by a sliding scale based on federal poverty guidelines. It serves about 2,000 people a year.
Southeastern Ohio Dental Clinic:
Recently moved from 1207 Gilman Ave., Marietta to 123 Third St., Marietta
Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday
Open to anyone, with fees determined by a sliding scale based on federal poverty guidelines; Ohio Medicaid is accepted
Call the clinic at 374-6242 for more information.
The clinic costs about $300,000 annually to operate, with that money coming from fees for services and grants. The grants totaled $85,000 in 2009 but dropped to $50,000 in 2010.
The clinic closed in November of last year because of funding cuts, but re-opened in early February with a new $50,000 Ohio Department of Health grant providing funding.
There were also some new policies put in place when it re-opened, including a stricter "no-show" policy which states that patients who miss two appointments within a year's time and do not provide 24 hour notice of cancellation will not be seen.
Another new policy requires that all patients pay a minimum of $30 per visit. When it closed last year, that amount was $20.
From February through the end of July the clinic has served 1,273 patients in 2,151 visits, according to figures provided by Kathleen Meckstroth, executive director of the health department.
According to Meckstroth, the building on Third Street that now houses the clinic is owned by Dr. Bret Frye and was most recently occupied by Family Tree Dental, which is now located on Colegate Drive in Marietta.
Farnsworth said rent for the building on Gilman Avenue that previously housed the clinic was $360 a month, while rent for the building on Third Street is $1,000 a month. Utilities in both the previous and current locations are paid separately.
"It was paying for itself but we couldn't expand," she said of the Gilman Avenue location.
A $14,100 grant awarded by the Marietta Community Foundation helped cover some costs associated with the move, including the purchase of some equipment.
Farnsworth said there have also been grant requests submitted to several other entities, including the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund and Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, but it is not yet known whether those requests have been approved.
"Those are for one time purchases like X-ray equipment for the additional chairs," she said.
Farnsworth said the clinic is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, just as it was in the previous location.
"We did have to hire an additional support person but other than that everything as far as services provided has remained the same," she said.