New dental clinic space allows Community Health Care Center to increase patient capacity

The Community Health Care Center’s new and expanded dental clinic opened this week.

The new clinic doubled the operatories, from three in the old space to six in the new space upstairs in the Machinery Row building at 202 2nd Ave. S. The CHCC has a long-term lease for the space.

Dental clinic expanding at Community Health Care Center

They have three part-time dentists and one full-time hygienist. The goal is to hire a full-time dentist and two part-time hygienists, which would allow CHCC to double their patient capacity, according to Trista Besich.

Currently, the CHCC dental clinic sees about 2,100 unique patients and has about 6,000 encounters annually, Besich said.

The dental clinic is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and accepts walk-in patients Monday through Wednesday and Fridays.

Community Health Care Center dental clinic

Operatory at the new Community Health Care Center dental clinic in Great Falls. Photo by Erin Merchant

The clinic was formerly located at 115 4th St. S. That space is now being renovated into additional space for medical providers at the CHCC, which is co-located with the City-County Health Department, though they are separate agencies. Administrative staff also moved to the Courthouse Annex, into vacant space across from the Commissioners office, also freeing up space for care providers at the main building, Besich said.

The CHCC has been steadily adding providers this year, increasing the ability to provide care for the roughly 32,000 people in Cascade County meeting the income requirements.

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“We’re starting to meet more of the community needs,” Besich said.

The CHCC provides medical, dental, and behavioral health and addiction services.

Besich said they have seen an uptick in mental health and substance abuse related issues. She said the CHCC is currently working with Gateway Community Services to expand a medically assisted treatment program using Suboxone.

The CHCC is also in the process of separating from Cascade County and once that happens the center’s board and staff will manage the budget and operations, versus the county.

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The center is federally funded and open to those at 200 percent of the poverty level or below. Besich said there are 32,000 people in Cascade County in that category.

The federal poverty level for 2018, according to, is $12,140 for an individual and 200 percent of the poverty level is $24,280.

‘We see a really diverse population,” Besich said.

Community Health Care Center receives $130,000 federal grant

The CHCC accepts all insurance providers and uses a sliding scale based on income to determine the cost for patients.

Besich said for patients at the lowest end of the income scale, the charge for services is $20. For the highest income levels, the charge is usually around $60.

The target demographic for the CHCC is low to moderate income populations.