The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

Island Health Care will open a new dental center later this summer to make dental care more accessible to vineyard owners.

The four-chair clinic currently under construction at Mariners Landing in Edgartown is part of a massive expansion of the health care facility, island health care officials said Wednesday at a Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce event at the Unfinished Space. part.

Dentist Aldino Maggiulli will manage the clinic, which was expanded in part with a $500,000 grant from MV Youth. He said he hopes the hospital can treat 30 to 40 patients a day to solve the island's lack of medical resources. Island Health Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Wolfe echoed the need.

Island Healthcare CEO Cynthia Mitchell and Aldino Magguilli. — Ray Ewing

“Virtually no one is providing dental care to the uninsured and underinsured,” he said.

Dental care on the island is complicated by the limited number of dentists. Vineyard has one of the lowest dental rates in the state. According to 2023 statistics released by the Martha's Vineyard Commission, there is only one dentist for every 1,920 people in Dukes County. This rate is lower than the rate in the state (one dentist per 930 people) and the country as a whole (one dentist per 1,380 people).

At Wednesday's event, Dr. Magiuli showed several guests where dental care will be performed.

“You can see how accessible it is,” he said, walking between two metal structures that will become walls and stretching out his arms to emphasize the size of the space.

Each of the four treatment rooms is equipped with a dental chair and a large monitor for displaying patient X-rays. Across the hall from the treatment rooms are what Dr. Maggiulli considers to be two of the best parts of the space. The first is the sterilization room, a space dedicated to cleaning and preparing the tools of his trade. The second one is the X-ray room.

“We can go from left to right, top to bottom, front to back,” Dr. Majiuli said, explaining that the X-ray machine will be able to take a panoramic picture of the patient. He added that panoramic X-rays are a form of preventive care that are usually only available in private clinics.

Dr. Magiuli said dental treatment will be provided on Island Health Care's sliding pay scale.

“This shouldn't be about the elite, the rich,” he said. “It's so difficult to get off work, take the kids out of school, take the ferry, find a dentist in Cape Town.”

Island Health Care is recruiting remaining staff for the dental center. Dr. Maggiulli hopes to have two hygienists, two dental assistants, a receptionist and an office manager. Once the center opens, two students from Boston University Henry Goldman School of Dental Medicine will join the staff as part of the residency program.

Island Health Care CEO Cynthia Mitchell said the students could join the staff as early as the fall. Accommodation will be provided for dental students enrolled in the program.

After Dr. Maggiulli toured the entire space, Chamber Executive Director Carolina Cooney welcomed the audience and then handed the microphone to Island Health Care Chief Financial Officer Shimmy Mehta.

“It's very likely that we have interacted with you before,” Mr. Mehta began, explaining that Island Health Care plays an important role in healthcare on the island, such as running TestMV, a former coronavirus testing site.

In addition to the dental center, Island Health Care plans to expand its primary care facility at the Mariners Landing location to serve adult and pediatric patients.

“Where you are standing will be the primary care ward,” Mr. Mehta said.

Construction on the primary care space has not yet begun. According to Mr. Mehta, the new unit is 10 times larger than the space currently used by Island Health Care.

Ms Mitchell explained that the expansion will make the organization's approach to healthcare more accessible. According to her, Island Healthcare practitioners take a big-picture approach to their patients. One aspect of a patient's health can be affected by another, she said, and Island Health Care wants different members of the patient's care team to work together to address the top issues.

Mr. Mitchell said that after their dental appointment, she hoped “the kids would go to the Children’s Health Center next door.”

Other donors to the clinic include the Health Resources and Services Administration, Martha's Vineyard Community Foundation, Martha's Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation, MassDevelopment and the Farm Neck Foundation.

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