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Nebraska floods destroy two dental offices

May 10, 2019

By Mary Beth Versaci

Chadwell Family Dentistry
‘Fast and furious’: Floodwaters reached about 18 inches in this operatory at Chadwell Family Dentistry’s office in North Bend, damaging the carpeting, which had to be removed. Photo courtesy of Chadwell Family Dentistry

Flood waters in North Bend
Bomb cyclone: Floodwaters still sit outside Chadwell Family Dentistry in North Bend two days after the initial flooding occurred. Photo courtesy of Chadwell Family Dentistry

Chadwell Family Dentistry
Destruction: Massive flooding leaves water and mud inside Family 1st Dental Associates’ Osmond office. Photo courtesy of Family 1st Dental Associates
Osmond, Neb. –– Despite his many years of living and practicing dentistry in Nebraska, Dr. Charles Skoglund had never witnessed anything like the flooding that recently devastated parts of the state, including one of his own offices.

“I’ve lived in this area, with the exception of dental school and college, my entire life, and I have never seen something like this,” said Dr. Skoglund, who has been in practice for 38 years, 20 of which were with Family 1st Dental Associates, whose Osmond office was destroyed in the flood.

The mid-March flooding was the result of a combination of factors that created the perfect storm. The area still had several inches of snow left over from a record-setting winter, and they melted when a “bomb cyclone” – a drop in atmospheric pressure that causes heavy rains – swept through the area, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Exacerbating the wet conditions, the ground in the area was frozen and unable to absorb moisture, and area rivers were clogged with ice slabs that had broken off and jammed together to create dams, causing water to overflow, the newspaper reported.

Following the floods, the American Dental Association helped the Nebraska Dental Association identify which member dentists had been affected. Of the 233 dentists contacted, three experienced damage to their practices, including Drs. Skoglund and Amy Chadwell, whose office in North Bend also was destroyed.

The third impacted office had flooding in its basement that could be repaired, Nebraska Dental Association Executive Director David O’Doherty said.

“We are thankful that the ADA was there to assist us in identifying who needed help during a very difficult time,” said Mr. O’Doherty, who added the Nebraska Dental Association will access its relief fund to provide grants to affected dentists as needed.

Dr. Skoglund is the owner and president of Family 1st Dental, which has 18 locations in Nebraska and 10 in Iowa. While a number of the other offices had some water damage, nothing compared to the more than $150,000 in damage at the Osmond site, including structural damage and loss of equipment, supplies and fixtures.

“We will have to find a way to find another building,” Dr. Skoglund said.

Patients who typically go to the Osmond office have been seeing the same dentist, Dr. Ben Aitken, at Family 1st Dental’s Wausa location instead. Overall, that has been going well, Dr. Skoglund said.

“These people up here are resilient, they really are,” he said. “We always talk about our first responders, and I can’t say enough about the first responders from these communities.”

In addition to Osmond, another community ravaged by floodwaters was North Bend, the home of Chadwell Family Dentistry’s satellite site. The office suffered at least $50,000 in damage, with floodwaters reaching 2 feet in some parts. The practice’s main location in Omaha was not damaged.

Dr. Chadwell may reopen a second office at a new site, but that will depend on the insurance payments she ultimately receives. While she has been reimbursed some, the company is still working on completing her claim.

“I don’t know why they’re being so slow,” Dr. Chadwell said.

In the meantime, she has added a day to her Omaha office’s schedule, and she is busy trying to cover all her bases so that she is prepared for whatever course of action she ends up taking.

“I have probably never worked harder as a business owner ever in my life,” said Dr. Chadwell, who founded her Omaha practice in 2005 and opened her North Bend location in 2014.

To help the impacted dentists, BMO Harris Bank – the practice finance lender endorsed by ADA Member Advantage and the Nebraska Dental Association – is offering a business loan for as much as $1 million with no payments for the first 90 days. Association members also will receive a 0.5% interest rate reduction on these loans and special priority processing, according to the Nebraska Dental Association.

“BMO Harris is honored to offer relief to rebuild, repair and get dentists back to serving patients,” said Niamh Kristufek, head of business banking for BMO Harris Bank.

Drs. Skoglund and Chadwell are not yet sure if they will pursue the special loan offer.

Family 1st Dental will decide on financing once the cost to replace everything that was lost is known, said Lisa Timmerman, the practice’s CEO.

For Dr. Chadwell, it’s a matter of continuing to wait on insurance.

“Building a business takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but you do it over time,” she said. “Taking down a business is fast and furious. Everything hits you all at once.”