The Aspen Group celebrated its first patients served after the opening of its state-of-the-art TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence in 2022. The new center already provided $370,000 worth of free care and is expected to provide additional care to 2,500 underserved patients each year.
The 25,000 sq. ft. clinic opened in July 2022 with the mission to provide comprehensive dental care at no cost to underserved patients in Illinois. To qualify for free care, patients must be Illinois residents who are eligible for Medicaid, or who are uninsured with a household income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
“The first few months of operation at the TAG Oral Care Center confirm what we have always believed: Our mission to break down barriers to care can be transformative in people’s lives. We’ve seen it in the hundreds of patients we’ve already served,” said Dr. Arwinder Judge, chief clinical officer at TAG. “This clinic will allow us to help fill a critical gap for thousands of underserved patients in Illinois every year and change lives for the better.”
The TAG Oral Care Center is equipped to provide fillings, extractions, non-surgical periodontal treatment, dental implants and associated restorations, 3D-imaging and scanning, and restorative dentistry, including dentures and implants all at no cost to eligible Illinois patients.
The clinic also provides professional development training courses for qualified dentists. In November, the clinic convened its first training session, with eight fully licensed dental professionals from Illinois learning the most up-to-date techniques and technologies for surgical implant placement and restoration. Participating dental professionals placed a total of 133 implants for 26 patients in December of 2022.
“For many years, I couldn’t find a dental provider who was willing to treat me, and I suffered from immense pain and significant shame about my oral health,” said Nathaniel Earsery, an early patient at the TAG Oral Care Center. “After receiving treatment at the TAG Oral Care Center, it brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face that I could be proud of. The caregivers here are so passionate, and they put extra effort into everything they do. I am so grateful to be in their care.”
The center is currently running at limited capacity until the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation finalizes regulatory rules that allow out-of-state dentists to visit the Oral Care Center. Once the regulatory rules are finalized, TAG intends to expand patient care offerings and training sessions.
“Our first implant course was a huge success and makes us very enthusiastic about the future of the TAG Oral Care Center,” said Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Ph.D., CAE, executive director of the TAG Oral Care Center. “We’re hopeful the regulatory limitations can be overcome quickly so we can reach more patients in need of this critical care.”
The TAG Oral Care Center builds on TAG’s history of breaking down barriers and expanding access to care. TAG is committed to meeting patients where they are and empowering leading healthcare teams to provide state-of-the-art care through strategic professional development initiatives and access to the latest dental technology.
About TAG – The Aspen Group
TAG – The Aspen Group was built on the simple idea of bringing better healthcare to more people. The independent healthcare practices TAG supports operate more than 1,300 locations in 45 states through six consumer healthcare brands: Aspen Dental, ClearChoice Dental Implant Center, WellNow Urgent Care, Chapter Aesthetic Studio, and AZPetVet.
Combined, they serve more than 35,000 patients each day and more than 8 million patients each year. TAG is headquartered at 800 W. Fulton Market in Chicago.