Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
Havre's newly opened community health center dental clinic has already temporarily shut down, with the health center scrambling to find care for the people it already started to serve. Bullhook Community Health Center Executive Director Cindy Smith said this morning that Dr. Bob English, who just started working as the dental clinic’s first dentist in the first part of February, left the clinic Thursday. “It just didn’t work out ,” Smith said. “It’s unfortunate, but we’re going to make sure our patients have what’s best for them.” Smith said people who have appointments scheduled or had started a treatment program should call the Bullhook clinic at 265-4541 to make arrangements. The clinic also is calling people who have appointments to let them know the situation, she said. The hiring of English came after several years of Bullhook researching and planning for the creation of a clinic. Bullhook was awarded a state grant last fall to help with creation of the clinic, and after finding a space in the Atrium Shopping Mall announced the hiring of English. Another dentist, Matthew Huff, has signed on to come work for the clinic in June after he receives his dental degree in May. Smith said she has several other possible dentists students finishing their degrees and practicing dentists and she will contact them again to see if they can replace English. A new dentist could be on board soon, and she is hoping to have two practicing at the clinic no later than June or July, she said. “We’re working hard to recruit somebody in,” She said, adding later that, “We want to get the right person in.” The rest of the dental clinic’s staff will remain, and Bullhook is contacting local dentists to see about the clinic’s patients receiving treatment. “Until we know more about what some of our local dentists will help us with, we have to put that on hold for a week or two,” she said. The top priority is helping patients who started receiving treatment plans or are scheduled for work or are in pain, she added. “Some people have started already with treatments,” she said. “Some can wait a while (for more work), some require treatment sooner.” Another option is contacting dentists who provide temporary service, known as locum tenens, to come in to do work, Smith said. The locum tenens typically come in to fill in when a dental practice is shortstaffed or has someone on vacation, she said. The dental assistants and hygienist are staying with the clinic, but cannot work without a dentist on staff, she added. “Definitely we are keeping it open, we just hit a little bump in the road,” Smith said.