New Community Dental Clinic Opens for The Community

Posted on:

October 20, 2020

CHI St. Joseph’s Health

Park Rapids, MN (October 20, 2020) – CHI St. Joseph’s Health is pleased to announce the opening of the relocated CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Dental Clinic. The new dental clinic is located across the street from the previous space on Pleasant Avenue, making it convenient for patients to find.

The original clinic opened in 2004 to meet a critical need for oral health care for individuals who lacked dental insurance or enrolled in public programs. It also helped address the general shortage of dentists in rural Minnesota. Since opening, the dental clinic had been operating in a leased space that was not large enough to accommodate an increasing number of patients. The new dental clinic has an attractive, welcoming environment that is more accessible for patients. It also provides increased space, including additional treatment rooms, which has allowed CHI St. Joseph’s Health to hire two additional dentists.

CHI St. Joseph’s Health has subsidized the dental clinic’s operating losses for many years due to insufficient reimbursement from State programs. This has made it financially challenging for St. Joseph’s to build its own clinic. Several years ago, a vision and a strategy were put in place to pursue grants and fundraise for a new location. In 2018 an opportunity came along to purchase the old Park Rapids Eye Clinic and the transaction was completed in January of 2019. This building was renovated and expanded with a goal to improve access to dental care and improve the overall health of the population while maintaining a financially sustainable dental clinic that provides high quality care to some of the most vulnerable populations in our region.

The new dental clinic was made possible by $1.5 million in combined grant funding from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, Minnesota Department of Health, PrimeWest Health, The Engelstad Foundation and the Offutt Family Foundation. Donations from the CHI St. Joseph’s Health Annual Gala and other private donations filled an important deficit for the project.

CHI St. Joseph’s Health President, Ben Koppelman, said “Strong support from our grant partners and community support paved the way for the project. Collaborative efforts were key in making this project possible. We are committed to continuing to help thousands of people get the care they need in a space they can be comfortable in.”

“We at Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation believe that everyone deserves a healthy smile and we are passionate about improving access to oral health care to people who need it most,” said Joe Lally, Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. “St. Joseph’s plays a critical role in helping people in Park Rapids and surrounding communities, and we were thrilled to support its expansion and growth.”

“Having access to dental care is a vital component to better health,” said Kris Engelstad McGarry, Trustee of The Engelstad Foundation. “CHI St. Joseph Health’s brand new Community Dental Clinic will provide that access to those in-need, including preventative and pediatric care. We see this as a wonderful and needed investment in the local community.”

The dental clinic is projected to provide dental care to over 3,000 people on an annual basis. The new 5,200-square-foot facility features state-of the-art equipment, spacious treatment rooms, a private consultation office, expanded waiting space and facilities designed to accommodate people with special needs. The CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Dental Clinic is proud to have collaborated with the Hubbard County DAC to display original artwork in the patient waiting area and looks forward to working with other local artisans offering traveling art venues. In September, the dental clinic welcomed Drs. Dan and Jennifer Eckmann, DDS. The husband and wife team bring years of experience to the community.

“This is a great example of organizations working together to create a long-term benefit for the community. I overheard a patient comment, ‘It’s so nice in here, it really makes you feel good about being here instead of the old clinic.’ This type of comment means that patients feel THEY MATTER. They appreciate the new surroundings that meet a health equity standard in their care setting,” said Sonja Day, Foundation Director, CHI St. Joseph’s Health.

The Offutt Family Foundation added “The Offutt Family Foundation seeks to sustain and improve quality of life in North Dakota and NW Minnesota. Given the Offutt family’s commitment to community, we are honored to be able to support the charitable work of CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Dental Clinic in providing preventive and restorative dental care for those in need.“

CHI St. Joseph’s Health will not be hosting a grand opening for the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a virtual tour of the new clinic will be available soon by visiting St. Joseph’s website at

About CHI St. Joseph’s Health

CHI St. Joseph’s Health is a 25-bed critical access hospital serving communities in Hubbard, Becker, Cass and Wadena Counties since 1946. In recent years, CHI St. Joseph’s Health’s award-winning teams received several national honors including: The Joint Commission Top Performer on Key Quality Measures in surgery; Top 100 Critical Access Hospital, HealthStrong; WomenCertified’s America’s Best Hospitals Women’s Choice Award in obstetrics; and the Studer Group Fire Starter Healthcare Organization of the Month among other national, regional and state recognitions.

About CHI

Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest health systems, was formed in 1996 to strengthen the Catholic health ministry for the future. With deep roots in the tradition of expressing Christ’s love by caring for those in need, Catholic Health Initiatives serves more than four million people each year through acute care hospitals; long-term care, assisted and residential-living facilities; community-based health services; home care; research and development; and reference laboratory services.


Contact: Sonja Day
Communication/Marketing Manager
CHI St. Joseph’s Health
600 Pleasant Avenue
Park Rapids, MN  56470

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