I continue meeting with state officials in an attempt to save the Fergus Falls State Dental Clinic from being shut down and it appears as if we’re heading in the right direction.
In case you missed it, the Fergus Falls clinic is one of a handful of state-run dental operations which could fall victim to the current budget deficit. This would be problematic because these clinics handle patients with disabilities which require specialized care; most private dentists are unable to accommodate these patients. Furthermore, the Fergus Falls clinic is a rare provider of hospital services required by many of these patients.
I recently had a one-on-one meeting with Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman. We shared ideas as to how we can keep the Fergus Falls clinic in operation and I characterize the meeting as positive. Although a lot of work remains, it feels like we are making progress.
We have received assurances that Sen. Linda Berglin is going to carry Senate legislation to keep the Fergus Falls dental clinic’s doors open and I am ready to do my part on the House side. We still are working on the funding details and I will pass along more information when the complete plan is in place. Area House members Torrey Westrom and Mark Murdock are working hard with me to find a viable long-term solution.
The more I become involved in this issue the more I become aware its impact is far-reaching; it’s not just a local thing. I have received phone calls from concerned people ranging from Roseau to Wisconsin.
We have a responsibility to uphold in caring for these special patients and need to find a way to make a plan work. These are tough economic times, but we can’t let that get in the way of caring for these special dental patients.
The good news is we still have plenty of time left in the legislative session to find a solution. We still need to finish work erasing our budget deficit, but I am hopeful we can find a solution to this problem as well. I will do my best to make sure that happens.