Sue Durocher will run the day-to-day operations at the Hillcrest Dental Care center in North Adams, which will open sometime in the late summer or early fall.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Between 2007 and 2011, Hillcrest Dental Care Inc. saw a 116 percent increase of North County residents traveling to its Pittsfield location for provider services.
In a few months, the drive down south won't be necessary when Hillcrest expands its services to North County.
"I'm very excited to get this running," said Sue Durocher, a North Adams resident and recently appointed operations director for the center. "I foresee us making a difference."
Two weeks ago, Hillcrest Dental Care signed a lease to operate out of North Adams Regional Hospital campus. Tim Gallagher, Hillcrest's business development director, said he hopes to have the center opened by late summer or early fall.
Gallagher explained the site will be renovated. Walls will be knocked down and added to create four larger rooms, and transform other rooms to meet a dental care center's needs.
"We deal with special needs patients," Gallagher said. "We need to make sure the rooms are nice and big to accommodate them."
The center will provide general dentistry, including cleanings, fillings, extractions and dentures. Surgery will not be provided, but there are oral surgeons on the campus. The services are similar it what its South Street office in Pittsfield provides.
The center will be located in the Ambulatory Care building, but is independent from NARH. However, Gallagher looks forward to a good partnership with the hospital.
The center will provide a lower going rate to appeal to pay-out-of-pocket patients. In Pittsfield, 80 percent of Hillcrest Dental Care patients use state-sponsored insurance, while the other 20 percent pay out of pocket or use private insurance.
The new center also aims to hire dentists and staff from North County and expects to add $550,000 in payroll, Gallagher said.
Gallagher and Durocher both stressed their goal is also in spreading dental care prevention tips to local youth and others. Representatives from the center will visit schools and provide information at community events in hopes of lowering the need for these services.
Gallagher said plans began for this center about two years ago and hopes it can start serving the community as early as late August.