Through an Uplift America Fund loan from Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, a much-needed dental clinic opened in Williamsburg. This is the first Uplift America Fund loan closed in Kentucky.

Dayspring Health, a federally qualified health clinic that has been in the region for more than 40 years, opened the Dayspring Dental clinic. A loan was made through the Uplift America Fund, which provides low-interest U.S. Department of Agriculture loans and private grant support to community lenders such as Kentucky Highlands that operate in economically distressed areas. These below-market rate loans can be up to 35 years.

The need for a dental clinic is great:

·       An estimated 22,000 patients will be without a dentist within a reasonable driving distance of the clinic in five years, according to Dayspring.

·       According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Eastern Kentucky also had the lowest percentage of adults who visited a dentist or dental clinic in the past year, particularly Cumberland Valley Area Development District, which was 45.6 percent.

·       Nearly one of five third- and sixth-graders in Eastern Kentucky needs urgent dental care, according to the survey Making Smiles Happen: 2016 Oral Health Study of Kentucky’s Youth.

 “These funds help make important health-care projects feasible,” said Jerry Rickett, president and CEO of Kentucky Highlands. “Uplift America Fund provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring much-needed capital to areas of greatest need. It leverages existing infrastructure and expertise, which allows us to tailor solutions best for our region and helps local organizations remain strong and build capacity.”

The dental clinic is open most weekdays until 8 p.m., and by appointment on Saturday so patients won’t have to take off work. In the first two days, numerous appointments were made for after-hours exams. Same day appointments are available for urgent dental needs.

Dayspring Dental offers full service dentistry. For patients without insurance who are below 200 percent of poverty, there is a sliding fee scale, which means exams cost as little as $25. Transportation also is available for qualified patients.

“This project wouldn’t have happened without Kentucky Highlands,” said Larry Rector, chief financial officer for Dayspring Health. “The USDA funds were lent to us at advantageous terms. We’re a nonprofit. Any way we can save money and spread out the cost is beneficial.”

Municipalities and nonprofits are eligible for the Uplift America Funds for community facilities projects such as health clinics, schools, libraries, food banks and municipal buildings. For more information, contact Mark Bolinger or Edgar Davis at 606-864-5175.