Federal Grant Supports CHP Dental Integration in Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD — Community Health Programs (CHP) will assume sponsorship and operation of Berkshire Medical Center’s (BMC) Dental Clinic, following the awarding of a $350,000 federal grant to CHP. This collaboration between CHP and Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) will help provide improved access to essential healthcare services in the Berkshire community. CHP will assume the operation of the clinic, located at 510 North St. in Pittsfield, by Oct. 14.
The CHP Dental Clinic will provide expanded dental-care services to more patients in the community; currently, the clinic provides care for nearly 5,000 patients per year. CHP will work to recruit new dentists, and the clinic will continue to utilize the expertise of the BMC Dental Residency program, which helps to staff the clinic. The residency is accredited by the American Dental Assoc. and provides advanced education in oral healthcare.
Community Health Programs will upgrade and expand the dental clinic to meet requirements of the grant, and will integrate dental operations with the existing CHP primary-care practice there, CHP – Neighborhood Health Center.
This is the latest collaboration between CHP and BHS, all with the goal of providing expanded access to healthcare services. In December, CHP assumed operation of the former Adams Internists and Northern Berkshire Family Medicine, giving the federally qualified health center’s network a presence in northern Berkshire County. Previously, the former BMC Neighborhood Health Center in Pittsfield was transitioned to a CHP federally qualified health center. The latest federal grant was awarded by the Health Resources Services Administration, which provides about 20% of CHP’s funding.
“Berkshire Health Systems is pleased to continue our collaborative relationship with Community Health Programs as we work together to provide enhanced care services to all who live and work in the Berkshires,” said David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems. “CHP and BHS continue to invest in these essential health services to provide greater access to care right here in the Berkshires.”
Lia Spiliotes, interim CEO of Community Health Programs, said CHP will carry on the BMC practice with few changes, aside from a facility expansion and certain federally mandated improvements. The affiliation makes good sense for the organization, which already operates a Great Barrington-based dental practice, she said.
“CHP has made some excellent strategic collaborations to strengthen its health network throughout Berkshire County and to improve residents’ access to healthcare, with support from BHS,” said Spiliotes. “With this new dental clinic under our umbrella, CHP is now in a position to focus strongly on existing practices and services, and to make improvements wherever possible to enhance patient care and improve access.
In addition, the affiliation will expand CHP’s participation in medical-education and residency programs.
The clinic is staffed by resident dentists from the BMC program, three dental assistants, and a receptionist who is also certified as a dental assistant. There will be no changes in employment when CHP assumes the operation of the clinic.
Patients with urgent dental needs may be seen on a walk-in basis. Patients seeking comprehensive, preventive care should call the dental clinic for an initial-visit appointment. At this first visit, patients will have a full-mouth series of radiographs taken, and a comprehensive exam will be completed. An individual care plan will be developed by the resident dentist with patient involvement. Patients will be seen by appointment for all routine dental needs. For more information and appointments, call (413) 447-2781.