It was 2010 when Dr. Curtis Slack started helping the Summit Community Care Clinic at the Upper Blue Elementary School with dental screenings. Little did Dr. Slack know, it would be the beginning of a relationship that would help hundreds of low income patients receive quality dental care. “About four years ago we were having a conversation about dental and Dr. Slack expressed his concern with the amount of patients with Medicaid in Leadville,” recalls Summit Community Care Clinic Special Projects Director, Erin Major.
At the time there were few dental options for pediatric Medicaid and uninsured patients in Leadville and no opportunities for adults. “People were calling and there simply were no options in Leadville or Chaffee County,” said Slack. “I think there is a definite need with different hurdles. There is more need than we can serve. It’s a shame. It’s a matter of reaching the people who need Medicaid options.” Some of the hurdles, Dr. Slack refers to are a lack of public transportation and a lack of financial resources. Furthermore, most dental offices don’t take Medicaid or offer a sliding fee scale for dental services.
These concerns led to an innovative partnership in July of 2016 when Dr. Slack began leasing his Leadville dental office space to the Care Clinic twice a week for a nominal fee. Anyone can be seen at the Care Clinic’s Lake County Dental office; however there is a special emphasis on Medicaid, CHP+, and underinsured patients. “The hope is that the Care Clinic reaches their goal of serving the underserved. Dentistry is not a commodity. You can’t drive another mile to get a cheaper gallon. There are different styles. My hope is that the Care Clinic is filling a niche that is not being filled. There is just a need,” reflected Dr. Slack. The Care Clinic dental office in Leadville is aptly called Lake County Dental and can be found in the Leadville Dental Associates’ office at 223 Harrison Ave, Leadville, CO. To make an appointment, call 719-427-0436.
“We would like to thank Dr. Slack for recognizing this need and reaching out to try to find creative solutions by graciously offering a partnership between his private practice, Leadville Dental Associates, and Summit Community Care Clinic,” said Major. “He is very generous. He not only lets us use his office space, but also his equipment.” This partnership has been so successful that other rural dental practices are also looking at this model as a way to offer dental care to the underserved.
Dr. Curtis Slack has been in Summit County since 2000. He opened his Leadville Dental office, Leadville Dental Associates in 2001 and shortly after opened Ridge Street Dental in Breckenridge.