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Gov. Tony Evers, left, tours the Open Arms Free Clinic in Elkhorn on Aug. 8, 2019, to promote new state health care funding.

ELKHORN

The Open Arms Free Clinic will unveil its new dental clinic in Elkhorn on Wednesday, clinic officials announced Sunday.

The charitable clinic spent a year gathering private donations, but a $150,000 grant from the Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation in late 2019 was a “tipping point,” according to a news release.

Open Arms said its dental clinic is the only free and Medicaid-accepted general dental provider in Walworth County, according to the release.

“Our goal is for patients to have the same quality care with dignity and respect as we would wish for our own family,” Sara Nichols, the clinic’s executive director, said in the release.

The clinic served children, adults and seniors with no health insurance, but grants it got in 2018 allowed its dental program to expand and include children who have Medicaid insurance—BadgerCare and Forward Health—and adults with special needs also on Medicaid, the release states.

The clinic hopes in 2021 to expand services to include adults with Medicaid, seniors and low-income veterans, according to the release.

In its first phase, the dental program will help patients who delayed care because of the coronavirus pandemic and address “emergent dental concerns” for children and adults with special needs, the release states.

Tammy Dunn, executive director of United Way of Walworth County, said in the release that she recently got a call from a “desperate man” with an abscessed tooth and no way to afford care. She said he feared losing his job “because the pain was overwhelming.”

“How wonderful to know I could give him the Open Arms phone number and he would receive exceptional treatment with compassion,” she said.

The dental clinic’s hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will happen rain or shine, but it will also be livestreamed on the Open Arms Free Clinic Facebook page.

The clinic said expected attendees include state Rep. Amy Loudenbeck; state Assembly candidate Katherine Gaulke; Tawsif Zoheb, who works for US Sen. Ron Johnson; and officials from Fontana, Delavan, Lake Geneva and Walworth.

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