MCHC Health Centers Supports Community Dentists to Reduce the Spread of Coronavirus

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MCHC Health Centers (MCHC) is safeguarding community dentists by providing emergency care to their patients in Ukiah, Willits and Lakeport during the Covid-19 shelter in place order.

When the statewide shelter in place began, dental offices throughout California were asked to reduce their practices to emergency services only. Most dentists complied to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and to avoid using personal protective equipment needed for those on the front lines of the pandemic. When community dentists did open their offices to treat dental emergencies, they could not avoid putting themselves and their employees at some risk. 

MCHC Dental Director Dr. Navneet Mansukhani explained, “At MCHC, we were already minimizing staff and patient exposure by continually disinfecting the health centers, and employees were already using personal protective equipment. Plus, our dental staff was already coming in to work every day with the skills and equipment to care for patients, so offering emergency dental care to other dentists’ patients just seemed like the right thing to do, regardless of whether we are paid for the care. As soon as the shelter in place ends, we’ll send patients right back to their regular dentist.”

Dentistry is one of several essential health services MCHC offers. MCHC is a patient-centered medical home where patients can receive all their basic healthcare in one location, including medical, dental, behavioral health, and some specialty care. As such, MCHC has remained open throughout the shelter in place.

According to MCHC CEO Scott McFarland, MCHC has a history of community partnerships. He said, “We are so fortunate to have such a strong, community-focused team. I’m proud of our Dental Department for reaching out to support our community dentists and their patients during these challenging times.” 

Mansukhani encourages patients with dental concerns to contact their regular dentist for a consultation and potentially, a referral to MCHC for emergency treatment. Once the shelter in place is lifted, MCHC will route all patients back to their private dentists.

For dentistry and other services, MCHC is currently providing some treatment on site and some treatment via telehealth, which involves consultations via secure video conferencing. Dental services are currently limited to those involving active infections or essential follow-up care, including for children.

MCHC is open during regular business hours with modified services at all four sites: in Ukiah at Hillside Health Center and Dora Street Health Center, in Willits at Little Lake Health Center, and in Lakeport at Lakeview Health Center. All MCHC health centers accept Medi-Cal, Medicare, Covered California insurance, and other insurance. Learn more at mchcinc.org.

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