By Alison Makijes/Special to

Meriter, St. Mary’s and University of Wisconsin hospitals are stepping up to provide a joint program to dental patients that need full sedation, replacing the services offered at the Max W. Pohle Dental Clinic, which is closing at the end of June.

According to an article on the new program will treat patients  with disabilities and other conditions who require anesthesia. U unfortunately it will not be up and running by the time the Pohle Dental Clinic closes on June 26, said Meriter-UnityPoint Health spokeswoman Leah Huibregtse.

The University of Minnesota’s dental school has agreed to step in and take the patients in Wisconsin. This isn’t the best scenario for the patients (the commute from Madison, Wi. to Minneapolis, Mn. is a little more than 8 hours roundtrip) but the treatment they will be receiving in Minnesota makes it worthwhile.

The program is on track to stick around a long time in it’s new home in Madison. “All of us are very optimistic and committed to working together on this,” she said.

The University of Minnesota’s dental school sees around 400 special needs patients from Minnesota and a handful of other states each year, said Jeff Ogden, chief administrative officer. Sadly, the services is losing about $250,000 a year.

The school already has some Wisconsin patients booked for appointments, but most are on a four-to-five month waitlist.

The good news:  a new facility set to open in January will expand capacity.

Dr. David Walther, a Madison dentist, treats some special needs patients at Mertier outside of the Pohle clinic.

“I’m excited to hear that Madison will continue to provide this service in some form,” Walther said, noting that going to Minnsota is “not that workable” for many special needs patients. “These patients typically don’t travel well,” he added.

The new facility will be a great aid to the special needs patients in Wisconsin for years to come.

To read the full story: