U’s Cedar Riverside dental clinic will close

The clinic, which served 7,500, will close at the end of June.

Jacob Steinberg

The School of Dentistry announced Wednesday it will close a clinic in the low-income Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

The eight-chair University of Minnesota clinic will close on June 30 because it loses too much money.

The clinic sees about 7,500 visits per year, said acting dean of the School of Dentistry, Todd Thierer. About 75 percent of patients are insured through Medicaid, he said.

But the Medicaid reimbursement rate in Minnesota is one of the lowest in the country, said Thierer, which has prevented the clinic from making any money.

“Because of [the low reimbursement rate], we just cannot break even and we’re just losing … a significant amount of money,” he said.

In August, a task force that was created to help balance the budget recommended the clinic be closed, Thierer said.

The clinic had until Nov. 9 to fix its financial situation, but the School of Dentistry’s Council of Chairs voted to close it following a presentation by the clinic.

“We haven’t been able to figure out a way not to lose money on that clinic,” said Thierer. “If the reimbursement rate was higher, that would make all the difference in the world.”

He said the clinic’s former patients should go to the dental clinic in Moos Tower for care.

“We certainly understand that this is a big change, and we understand that there are patients that rely on us,” Thierer said. “We’re going to make sure that they have other alternatives where they can go within our system and make sure that they continue to get great care.”