While folks are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, another celebration already kicked off today. The official ribbon cutting and community open house of a new health center in Ashland. Shawn Cunningham was there for the festivities and reports on how its providing people with access to care.
Balloons and barbeques. Its not an early celebration for the Fourth of July, but a party celebrating the opening of the Katahdin Valley Health Center in Ashland. The new center will mean community access to a number of quality healthcare services.
Glenda Dwyer is a Board Member for KVHC and says “So access to care in a local community which I live in so I’m very proud of that that we were able to keep primary care here with access seven days a week extended hours.”
The new health center in Ashland will serve people living in the surrounding communities of Garfield Plantation, Masardis, Owbow Plantation, Nashville Plantation and Portage.
The site transitioned from the former Ashland Health Center to a new federally qualified health facility under Katahdin Valley Health back in February. It’s a partnership between KVHC and the Aroostook Medical Center to better serve people in outlying areas of Northern Maine.
The center will offer primary care services as well as eye care. Its giving people quality care right in their own community without having to travel. Center officials say this partnerhsip with TAMC is working for the benefit of patients.
Dr. Stephen Martin is an Opthamologist for TAMC Eye Care Services and adds “Its a good fit because we are providing eye care in a rural area to start with and we have the ability because of this center and the support of our institution to be able to do this to patients that might not be able to reach care.”
“Its less driving time because the two hospitals one’s 22 miles away and its easier for them to come here and to make sure they keep up with their current needs and whatever problems they may be having,” adds Joan Haines, a KVHC Nurse Practitioner.
Dwyer says “The partnership really is a significant benefit related to the federal funding that Katahdin Valley has so the patients here can actually go on a sliding fee scale and get great service for a lower fee.”
Dental services will also be offered at the new center. In addition to Ashland, KVHC operates four other health center sites in Maine including Houlton, Island Falls, Millinocket and Patten.