NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – Premier Community HealthCare recently opened a pediatric health center near downtown New Port Richey. The center provides medical and dental services to children and teens.
What you need to know
Premier Community HealthCare opened a pediatric health center near downtown New Port Richey
The center provides medical and dental care
Patients are seen regardless of ability to pay
Doctors say federally qualified centers like this one are serving areas with medical shortages
“Federally qualified health clinics are always coming to areas where there is a medical deficit in terms of the doctor-patient ratio. Here too, there is a dental deficit,” said Dr. Sherrie-Ann Webb, a pediatrician at the center. “So we really wanted to have one space that can provide both services under one roof – a dentist, a pediatrician, who can see the child on the same day, if parents want so, so that we have fewer days off work, fewer days missed.” at school, maybe save some fuel for some.”
“We love being here in this area. It’s an area that we’ve needed for a long time,” said Dr. Kelly Thomas, the center’s dentist, about the new office at 6906 Madison St. “The kids and parents were so happy they didn’t have to drive that far, having gone to Spring Hill or Dade City or Brooksville before.”
Got a peek at Premier Community HealthCare’s new pediatric health center in #NewPortRichey. It offers a range of services, including medical and dental care, under one roof. Care is available regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. @BN9 #bn9pasco pic.twitter.com/jIrFrzJIYT
— Sarah Blazonis (@SarahBlazonis) July 9, 2021
That was the situation Shaquila Santiago found herself in. While living in New Port Richey, Santiago is a patient of Premier’s dental practices in Dade City. She said it would be easier to bring her children, Amaria Smith, 6, and Marquale Smith, 4, to the new center.
“It’s fun. They did quite well with him,” Santiago said of Marquale. “I’ve had issues with other dentists with him, and he’s been doing pretty well here. He sat down, he had them check his teeth and stuff, so it was pretty good.”
Santiago said transportation isn’t an issue for her family, and while the new location is convenient, she would be able to travel further if needed. Doctors at the children’s center said that’s not always the case.
“It is always very difficult for the children to find childcare,” says Thomas. “It can be difficult to find a dental office that wants to see them, understand how they are different from an adult patient. So it’s always very important that the parents can come to the appointment. The closer they are together, the more they are more likely to honor the commitments and come in to actually get the work done.”
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, 29 million patients would be served by health centers in 2019. Of those, 8.7 million would be children. Most of those seen in 2017 were low-income, and 82% of patients served in 2018 were uninsured or publicly insured through programs such as Medicaid (48%) or Medicare (10%).
Doctors said removing barriers to regular checkups and identifying problems early can have a ripple effect in the lives of young patients.
“Sacs are one of the main reasons why children don’t go to school,” says Prof. Dr. Jose Peralta, Dental Director of Premier Community HealthCare. “With the opening of this office and two others we are working on, it will be a lot easier for our patients to get care faster.”
For more information about the child care center or to make an appointment, call (352) 518-2000 or visit the center’s website.