Serving thirty-four South Dakota towns, Community Health Centers serve thousands of patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas CEO Shelly Ten Napel says her organization primarily serves the underserved especially when it comes to dental health.

“Actually in the Dakotas there’s a lot of demand for dental services. Not a lot of people have great insurance for dentistry. If you go to Falls Community Health Dental offices, they’re beautiful. There’s a whole floor of them and they are really busy.”

Ten Napel mentions a glaring need for dental care in rural South Dakota.

“I think for a while in the northwest corner of South Dakota there was a land mass maybe the size of Connecticut without a dentist. There are some huge shortages. One of our health centers up in that northwest corner just recruited a dentist. They are so proud and excited to have a full-time dentist that’s coming into that part of the state.”

Community Health Centers are non-profit entities based on local needs and frequently collaborate with other health care systems in the center’s service area.

Additionally, HealthCare Association of the Dakotas oversees another seventeen communities in North Dakota.

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