July 21, 2008

Open House Held at New Health, Dental Clinic

By Elva K. Osterreich, Alamogordo Daily News, N.M.

Jul. 20--Fresh, spacious and white through and through, the new Ben Archer Health Center welcomes visitors into the facility with comfortable chairs and a fish tank video set on the wall.

After officially opening for service in March, the new building hosted an open house Friday to show off services including primary medical care, primary dental care, pharmaceutical services and more.

With close to 30 staff members, the facility accepts all kinds of insurance, said Health Educator Raginee Mendoza.

Those without insurance can qualify for a sliding scale discount program for medical and dental services. Medicaid on-site application assistance is available for pregnancies and children, Mendoza said.

In the dental section of Ben Archer, the "Pedo Bay" awaits children 9 and under. A pediatric specialist comes up from Las Cruces several times a month to take care of young teeth.

The regular dentist at the facility, Ray Puckett, takes care of the bigger children and adults. Two dental hygienists are available also.

Emergency dental services are offered to everyone who walks in the door at 8 a.m. with a toothache, Mendoza said. From Monday to Thursday, those emergency dental clients can sign in at 8 a.m., and they will be seen that day.

Sometimes it does take a while before the dentist can visit with them, Mendoza said.

"I'll always tell them to bring a book or something," she said.

The dental clinic daily squeezes four to 16 emergency patients in on a first-come, first-served basis.

A pharmacy room at Ben Archer dispenses prescriptions from a main pharmacy in Las Cruces, Mendoza said. Prices charged to clients are at cost, or what the pharmacy pays suppliers.

The public health facility also provides free educational classes and community presentations. Classes are available on prevention programs, nutrition, diabetes management and control and prenatal care.

Two nurse practitioners provide health visit services at Ben Archer, Ilana Cornelius and Jennifer DeRoy.

"I love the diverse population," Cornelius said. "It's pleasant to work here."

Cornelius said on the medical side of the office, wait times are kept at a minimum and walk-in patients are welcomed.

The clinic is at 2150 U.S. Highway 54 South and can be reached at 443-8133.


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