Heartland Community Health Center (Heartland) and Douglas County Dental Clinic (DCDC) are pleased to announce the merger of our two safety-net organizations.  Earlier this week, the Boards of Directors for both organizations voted with unanimous consent to approve the merger and have signed the merger agreement.

In a decision inspired by a commitment to what is best for its patients and the community at large, DCDC has agreed to merge their staff and assets into Heartland’s, restricting those assets to dental operations. DCDC patients will continue to receive high quality care for all of their oral health needs, and once they are part of the Heartland community of patients, they will have access to the robust resources a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is able to provide for their patients, including fully integrated primary care for all ages, behavioral health and psychiatry services, case management services, food pantry access, insurance eligibility assistance, as well as many other supportive services.

“This merger has definitely been a long time coming,” said Julie Branstrom, Executive Director of the Douglas County Dental Clinic.  “DCDC has done such an outstanding job over the years with its limited financial resources but we absolutely struggle with keeping our fees affordable to our uninsured patients who are living at or below the federal poverty level. This merger will increase Heartland’s capacity to provide oral health services to more people and I’m thrilled that DCDC’s patients will soon have access to high quality integrated health care.  This is a wonderful thing for our community and should be celebrated!”

The two organizations announced an exploratory process and intent to merge in November 2017. They now target July 2020 for the close of the acquisition and the transfer of staff, services, and assets to Heartland.  While the dental clinic will see a few visual changes outside with new logos and signage, patients can be assured that the providers and staff they have formed relationships with over the years will still be providing quality care.  Neither organization anticipates any disruptions to patient care.

“This merger is about improving access to care, so our commitment to our patients is to ensure a seamless transition with no disruption to their ability to access our team of dental providers,“ said Heartland’s Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Mollie Day.  “I have been really pleased with how smoothly the preparations for this merger have gone thus far and I’m eager to continue building relationships with DCDC patients and the community partnerships DCDC has cultivated throughout the years.”

In order to advance our collective vision of health for all Douglas County residents it is critical that we look for new approaches and strategies to better serve our patients.  While state funding, local grants/donations, and conventional patient revenue will continue to fuel the mission of DCDC and Heartland, we cannot make progress with the usual, conventional efforts.  The need within our community is great, so our strategies must be bold.

The mission and vision of the surviving organization will emphasize the two’s shared principals of inclusivity, accessibility, efficiency, integration, quality health care, and positive outcomes. Also included is a focus on innovative approaches aimed at changing health care for the community at large.

“We look forward to bringing the strengths of both organizations to this merger to better care for our existing patients, as well as for new patients seeking high-quality care,” said Heartland CEO Robyn Coventon. “The depth of services we will be able to provide as part of our integrated model only enhances the mission of both of our organizations; we will continue to emphasize access to quality, affordable, primary health care for all, with particular interest in addressing health disparities in our community.”

Heartland remains grateful for the support of our patients, partners, staff, and community for allowing us to grow and serve in Kansas. To become a patient of Heartland, please call 785-841-7297.