New dental clinic expands services to clients

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Community Health Centers of South Central Texas, which offers dental and medical services

• ADDRESS: Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center, 2805 N. Navarro St.

• PHONE: 361-576-2110

• SERVICES OFFERED: Primary medical care (from pediatrics to obstetrician gynecologist), behavior health counseling and dental services

Elda Gonzalez traveled an hour and 45 minutes from her home in Port Lavaca to Gonzales to seek dental services at Gonzales Community Health Center. But it wasn't just for her.

Along with her two kids and husband, Gonzalez said she made the trip because no dental services were available at a rate she can afford. She has no health insurance.

That's all changed now that the Victoria Community Dental Clinic is expanding its services to see children as young as 6 months old to adults beginning this month. Families no longer have to be separated and can all see a physician for dental work.

"It's less gas and not spending as much money," said Gonzalez. "It's closer now."

The Victoria Community Dental Clinic, which is run by the Community Health Centers of South Central Texas, started taking patients this month. The clinic is available and open to everyone, said Health Centers CEO Henry Salas.

"If people need help, that's what we're here for," Salas said. "Nobody is turned away for their inability to pay."

Community Health Center medical director Dr. James Quartey said the health center will have one full-time and part-time doctor. Over the next few months, he hopes to expand the clinic to have six doctors.

Quartey said he is relieved that people will not have to travel far for services.

"We had one patient from Victoria coming to Gonzales every day. That's at least an hour drive," he said. This "will save those who travel out of town."