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Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 -- 1:52 PM

Plans for a Dental Clinic in Neillsville are moving forward, but not as originally proposed.

The new facility will cater to low-income residents and will employ 20 to 30 people.

When the idea was first announced in June, Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville said they planned to construct the dental clinic and lease it to Family Health Center of Marshfield.

"The plan is to purchase some land, I think it's almost for sure going to be in the Boon (Commercial Park), back by the Legion," says Administrator Scott Polenz, "Maybe break ground yet this year and definitely have it open next year."

"The only change is Memorial Medical Center is not going to purchase the land and build the building and lease it out to Family Health Center," he adds.

Since the announcement in June, a committee has been working behind the scenes to get the facility started.

At some point, a decision was made that Memorial Medical Center wouldn?t play a role in constructing the new facility.

"We're fine with that. The ultimate goal is for the dental clinic to be here. It did complicate things and it took us away from focusing on Memorial Medical Center," Polenz says.

MMC will continue to be part of the planning process, he says.

Family Health Center is an off-shoot of the Marshfield Clinic.

The clinic will serve thousands of residents who rely on medical assistance to pay for their dental care. Many private dentists refuse to serve these individuals because they only receive about .39-cents on the dollar for their service.

The idea was spearheaded by Memorial Medical Center staff, who have observed an increasing number of patients turn to the Emergency Room for dental care.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.