Vidalia, Georgia Dental Clinic Modernized with Help from USDA and Partners: Upgrades Allow More Patients to Receive Care

Deborah Callahan
Release Date
Jun 26, 2015
close up view of a dental exam

Today USDA Rural Development State Director Quinton Robinson announced an Economic Impact Initiative Grant (EII) project that will make dental care more accessible in rural Southeast Georgia.  The grant, awarded to Mercy Medical Clinic and Foundation, Inc. will be used for making major upgrades to x-ray and dental records technology.  Efficiencies gained from the modernization will result in more patients treated daily at the Compassionate Care Dental Clinic.

"USDA is proud to partner with Mercy Medical Clinic and Foundation, Inc. in improving access and delivery of oral health services to vulnerable and underserved rural Georgians," said Robinson. He continued, “The efficiencies provided by this grant opportunity will go a long way in improving long term healthcare.”

Compassionate Care Dental Clinic treats patients who qualify financially.  Services are provided at a low and reduced cost and even at no cost in some cases, meeting a critical need in Toombs, Montgomery and Tattnall counties. The tri-county poverty level (Toombs, Montgomery, and Tattnall) is 29% compared to 14.5% for the State.

The Clinic also serves as an externship site for Georgia Regents University senior year dental students. With the upgrades, student staff gain hands on experience with current industry technology in addition to increasing clinic efficiencies.  Upgrades include the purchase of a Pro Max Panorex single sensor digital pan with pan sensors, imaging accessories, equipment training, three Dell workstations, four 500 gig hard-drive Dell laptops, and a HL7 server to be hosted in house for open dental.  The new digital equipment saves time and produces improved image quality over film x-ray.  It is estimated as much as 30 minutes per procedure can be saved, allowing the clinic to serve 2-3 more patients daily.

Mercy Medical Clinic and Foundation, Inc. combined their $9,875 with $25,000 from Georgia Regents University and a $42,500 USDA EII Grant for the project.  USDA’s Economic Impact Initiative Grant program assists in the development of essential community facilities in rural communities with extreme unemployment and severe economic depression.  Priority is given to health care, education and public safety projects.

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.