TOMAGWA HealthCare Ministries—a Christian ministry that provides health care to uninsured, low-income families and individuals in Tomball, Magnolia and Waller County—announced late October that it plans to open a dental clinic in its office on Jan. 3, 2013.
“This clinic will address an important need that exists in our community,” said Judy Deyo, TOMAGWA executive director. “People have come to realize how important oral and dental care is to your overall healthcare and there are many people who have not had dental care in a long time that we hope to assist.”
The clinic will offer services that include routine checkups, fillings, extractions and general cleaning. Deyo said the clinic will house four dental chairs and can accommodate 2,600 visits each year. She said the clinic will initially target people who are already TOMAGWA patients who need dental care before expanding into the rest of the community.
Opening the dental clinic has been a long-time goal of TOMAGWA, and was made possible thanks to a $475,000 donation from the Tomball Regional Health Foundation. The donation is meant to cover all operating costs of the dental facility over the next two years, including money for a part-time dentist, a dental coordinator, furniture and equipment.
“This is the funding that we need to get things started and running for a period of time,” Deyo said. “As with our medical facility, the support we receive from the community will be crucial in offsetting the costs. We are also looking into grants specifically designed for dental healthcare.”
TRHF, established earlier this year, was formed by members of the Tomball Hospital Authority after it sold Tomball Regional Medical Center to Community Health Systems. A nonprofit organization, TRHF is dedicated to improving health care in Tomball, Magnolia and Waller through a variety of endeavors, said Marilyn Kinyo, chief administrative officer.
“With the money that was left over after the sale of the hospital, [TRHF] is able to donate money to organizations like TOMAGWA,” she said. “There is a desperate need for a dental care program in this community, so this was identified as one of the first projects to get off the ground.”
Future projects TRHF is looking into include a program to help elderly people get to medical appointments, supporting the new Veterans Administration clinic opening in 2013 and supporting organizations like the Lion's Club, which has a program to help low-income individuals afford eyeglasses.
The dental clinic will be located on the second floor of the TOMAGWA office at 455 School St., Tomball. The first floor houses TOMAGWA's medical services.