Bemidji dental clinic expands low income services

The Northern Dental Access Center in Bemidji -- which offers dental care to low income people -- is expanding to offer other family health services.

Supporters say the expansion is another step toward becoming a full community clinic for low income patients who are enrolled in public health care programs such as Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare.

Expanded services include rapid HIV screening, mental health screening tobacco cessation support and nutrition information. The goal is to help at-risk people take advantage of early screening in a non-intimidating setting. The project is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and the United Way of Bemidji Area.

Carol Kelly, RN and recently certified nurse practitioner, has been hired to provide the services. Kelly worked for 22 years as a public health nurse.

"We're pleased to be able to take the next step toward a full community clinic," said executive director Jeanne Edevold Larson. "Some day we hope to find a collaborating physician to allow Carol to work as a Nurse Practitioner and offer even more services, but this is a great first step."

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