OGDEN -- Midtown Community Health Center is adding 15,000 square feet to its headquarters to try to meet the demands for affordable health care in Northern Utah.
The center will have 12 new exam rooms and 10 dental operation rooms ready for business Tuesday.
In addition, the expansion will allow for two community-based training programs. Family practice residents from McKay-Dee Family Medicine Residency Program will use six of the new exam rooms for rotations in prenatal care, said Midtown Executive Director Lisa Nichols. Six of the 10 dental rooms will be used to train dental hygiene students from Weber State University.
"These two collaborations offer an excellent training experience to students while assisting Midtown in providing affordable care to community residents," Nichols said.
The $3.2 million expansion was funded mostly through private donations, including the Stephen G. and Susan E. Denkers Family Foundations, Dr. Ezekiel and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation and the Willard L. Eccles Charitable Foundation. Other donations come from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
"It is Midtown's vision to offer an urgent care setting to underserved community residents. The expansion was built with this goal," Nichols said. "The six remaining exam rooms will house an urgent care clinic once operational funds are secured. Urgent care services would be provided until 8 p.m. daily on a walk-in basis."
The remaining dental rooms will be used to expand dental services. Midtown provides a full range of services, including oral hygiene, root canals, fillings, dentures and implants on a sliding-fee scale.
In addition to the expansion, Midtown's existing space was renovated to accommodate growth and expand pharmacy services. The center currently operates a discount pharmacy that fills 45,000 prescriptions each year.
Midtown has provided services to the medically underserved in Northern Utah for 18 years. It opened in a dilapidated building on 28th Street in 1994. Primary care services were provided to just fewer than 4,000 patients that year, Nichols said.
Today, the center serves 25,000 community residents at six sites in Weber and Davis counties. Sixty-seven percent of those patients are uninsured, 89 percent live at or below the federal poverty levels, 35 percent are children and 55 percent speak a language other than English. Those languages include Spanish, American Sign Language, Cantonese, Tagalog, Marshallese and Japanese.
Midtown employs four dentists, three mental health therapists and 16 medical providers.
"The demand for affordable health care continues to increase in Northern Utah," Nichols said. "Population growth, unemployment and shrinking health benefits have all contributed. Midtown has continuously tried to meet the growing demand."
An open house for the new expansion will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson will present the certificate of occupancy at that time.