Thursday, July 8, 2010
Byhalia health center unveils dental clinic
By BARRY BURLESON
The dental department at Byhalia Family Health Care Center is quadrupling its size.
The new Byhalia Family Dental Clinic, a state-of-the-art facility, officially opened Saturday, June 26, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.
“We’re going from 800 square feet to 3,200,” said Marjorie McKinney, executive director of Northeast Mississippi Health Care Inc. “The demand for dental service at a reduced rate is very high. Lots of people need to see the dentist but don’t have the money. We will be able to take care of their needs.”
McKinney said the new clinic will provide space for two dentists, a full-time hygienist, digital x-ray and electronic dental records.
“We were overcrowded and using 1980s equipment that couldn’t be fixed anymore,” she said.
The new $700,000 facility was constructed with a loan from the USDA Rural Development and a grant from the Delta Regional Authority.
After McKinney’s welcome, former board member Charlotte Saunders sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and board chairman Albert Lay gave the invocation.
McKinney then recognized the 2010 scholarship recipients - Ryan Wilkins, Dallon Garrett, Alicia Jones and Casey Gibson.
Dr. Clifton Rodgers, clinical director for Northeast Mississippi Health Care Inc., called the new dental facility an important leap forward.
“We’re starting to develop into a medical complex,” he said.
Robert Pugh, executive director of the Mississippi Primary Care Association, referred to the key in the Byhalia Family Health Care Center logo.
“That key has unlocked another door to health care availabilities in this community,” Pugh said. “These things do not happen overnight. All of you are to be commended for providing leadership in your community.”
Bill Stone, District 2 state senator, said the expansion is a “testament to the leadership of the clinic and a great asset to the community.”
Tommy Woods, District 52 state representative and a lifelong Byhalia resident, said it is great to see growth in town.
“It’s a real privilege to be here and see a facility that will be able to take care of our people for many, many years,” Woods said.
McKinney applauded Tracy Davidson with Citizens Bank in Byhalia.
“We could not have done this project without the interim financing from our local bank,” she said.
Davidson thanked McKinney and her staff for being visionaries.
“This health care center is an integral part of our community,” he said. “It serves our community well.”
Bill Dawson of Byhalia, speaking on behalf of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, said most don’t think of health care as an industry but it is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation.
“There are 65 employees here (at Byhalia Family Health Center) and that’s an industry in itself,” he said. “It’s a small business with a huge impact in our community.”
Byhalia Mayor Phil Malone said the open house was “to celebrate the people who work in this facility.”
“These employees are very involved in our community,” he said. “Thanks to all of you. Together, I believe we can continue to do great things for the town of Byhalia.”
Prior to closing the ceremony with prayer, W.D. Fitts, a former member of the board of directors, said he is happy to see the progress of the health care center.
“We have a team here,” he said, “and this is a wonderful return on our tax money.”
The employees surprised McKinney with roses, in appreciation of her dedication and leadership.
Present members of the dental staff include dentist Sarah Crain, hygienist Lynn Callicutt, Rita McAlexander, Patricia Overall and Delois Johnson Harris.
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