St. Joseph Pediatric Dental Center acquired by Tri-County CAA

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Tri-County Community Action Agency announced it has acquired the St. Joseph Pediatric Dental Center, which was previously operated by CharterCARE Health Partners.

The acquisition was approved by the R.I. Department of Health and will help thousands of Rhode Islanders – particularly low and moderate-income families – get access to dental care.

The St. Joseph Pediatric Dental Center, previously located at 21 Peace St. in Providence, closed its doors on Dec. 31, 2023, when the building lease expired. But discussions between CharterCARE and Tri-County had begun in early 2023 to help ensure a smooth transition.

“CharterCARE is proud to have founded this critically important dental program and to have successfully operated it for many years,” said Jeffrey Liebman, CharterCARE CEO. “We are very grateful that Tri-County has taken this program on, and we are delighted that dental staff and patients will have access to a beautiful new facility.”

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The St. Joseph practice transitioned to the new Tri-County Pediatric and Family Dental Center, which opened in Johnston on Jan. 1. The new dental center will be in the Medical Arts building at 1637 Mineral Spring Ave. in North Providence. Patients who previously received care at St. Joseph Dental Center are encouraged to transition to Tri-County’s new center.

“Rhode Island is experiencing a critical shortage of dental providers in the state, and particularly providers that accept Medicaid or uninsured patients” said Dr. Daniel Kane, former dental director for St. Joseph’s and now dental director for Tri-County. “As a Federally Qualified Health Center, Tri-County accepts all patients, including those with Medicaid, or those experiencing financial difficulties, so I am confident that all patients who received care at St. Joseph’s will find a new dental home with Tri-County.”

All patients of the new Tri-County Pediatric and Family Dental Center will have access to other Tri-County CAA programs as well, such as pediatric medical care, food and heating assistance, Head Start programs, behavioral health care for adults and children, employment and training programs, and more. Tri-County also plans to send its mobile health unit to the Mineral Spring Avenue location twice per week to provide dental patients access to medical care, according to a news release.

The space in the Medical Arts building was gifted by Dr. Jerry Khedari, a private physician, and is valued at approximately $400,000, according to the release. Kheradi maintained a medical practice in the space for several years before retiring and donating the space to Tri-County Community Action Agency.

Renovation of the space to add 13 new dental operatories began in fall 2023 and is expected to be completed by early February. The $6.2 million project was funded by several sources and covered in part by a $1 million Congressional Directed Spending Grant from U.S. Sen Jack Reed, D-R.I. Additional funding was secured from the Federal Bureau of Primary Care: Health Resources and Services Administration, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Tri-County CAA, and other anonymous donors, according to the release.

Along with the clinical space, Tri-County has secured a second suite in the Medical Arts building that will be used for administrative operations.

St. Joseph’s staff members were given the opportunity to join Tri-County employees as part of the transition. Tri-County also plans to maintain the dental provider’s privileges at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital so that they may continue to offer sedation dentistry and oral surgery for pediatric patients.

“We are excited to welcome the talented team from the St. Joseph Dental Center into the Tri-County family. This acquisition aligns with our mission to address the diverse health care needs of our community and ensures that high-quality dental services are readily accessible,” said Joseph DeSantis, CEO and president at Tri-County Community Action Agency. “As service providers, our team is our greatest asset, and I’m confident that the Tri-County team and the St. Joseph team will merge successfully to provide exceptional patient care.”

Tri-County will also transition the relationship with the New York University Langone School of Dental Residency program into the agency, which was formerly in place at St. Joseph’s. The residency program will ensure a pipeline of new dental providers for the Tri-County dental practice, as well as other pediatric dental programs in the state.

Tri-County is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in Rhode Island to operate a dental residency program, according to the release.

“We are thrilled to add the Pediatric Dental Residency program to our Health Center,” said Brenda Dowlatshahi, chief operating officer and health center director. “The expertise and innovation brought by Dr. Kane and NYU Langone will undoubtedly elevate our practice, enhancing our ability to deliver comprehensive and cutting-edge dental services. We look forward to the invaluable contributions and shared knowledge that this collaboration will bring, ultimately benefiting the oral health and well-being of our patients.”

Appointment scheduling for the new Tri-County Pediatric and Family Dental Center opened at the end of January. For more information about Tri-County Community Action Agency’s Pediatric Dental Clinic and the expanded range of services, visit www.TriCountyRI.org or call (401) 519-1940.

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Castellani@PBN.com