WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 06, 2010, 09:03 AM

Clinic that serves disabled clients is set to close

Fergus Falls, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A dental clinic in Fergus Falls that serves hundreds of disabled clients in the lakes area is set to be closed in just days. In a cost cutting move, Minnesota's Department of Human Services tells us it plans to close the Dental Clinic in Fergus which now serves over 500 people.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

When Shelli Nelson brought her group home clients to the state's dental clinic in Fergus Falls today, she had to make the 4-hour drive from Roseau, Minnesota.

“There is nothing closer.”

But those at the Dental Clinic expect layoff notices this week in preparation of a May 1st closure of the state dental program here, where more than 500 disabled clients from across the region come for care.

“I am just appalled. I cannot believe this.”

That's Julie Reeder of Lakes Homes. A nurse who is angry so many disabled people and their families will go without dental care.

“There has to be other places to cut corners, why hit up the special needs.”

And so where will all these patients go. Dentists in our area are not equipped to deal with clients with special needs.

“I am disappointed that the state does not recognize these are the most vulnerable people and that is what we are cutting and that is sad.”

The closest state dental clinic program will now be Brainerd, but will the travel and long appointment waits turn people away from even getting care? The state of Minnesota issued a statement to us today saying the closing is part of a 17-million dollar cost cutting move. Clinics are also closing in Cambridge and Willmar.