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Construction to Begin Today on Mascoma-Based Health Clinic

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/31/2016 12:32:32 AM
Modified: 5/31/2016 12:32:35 AM

Canaan — Construction will begin today on a community health clinic intended to service the Mascoma Valley. The work will coincide with the announcement of more than $200,000 in federal loans for the project.

When complete, the 13,000-square-foot Mascoma Community Health Center, at the corner of Route 4 and Roberts Road, will include offices for doctors, nurses, physical therapists and dentists, according to Mike Samson, Canaan’s town administrator and a project leader. The building also will house a laboratory, pharmacy, X-ray office and a mental health office.

The effort to bring such a clinic to the area is being spearheaded by the Mascoma Community Health Care, a nonprofit organization.

Patients will receive primary health care, dental care and prescriptions for a flat fee of about $1,500, supporters said last year.

Fundraising for the clinic began in 2013, after about 400 people from the region attended a forum and voiced concerns about the rising cost of health care, Samson said. Since then, 298 donors raised $329,000 for the project, and another $202,000 was donated from area foundations.

About 2,700 people have pledged to use the clinic, Samson said, with around 700 of them affiliated with 10 local employers. The clinic could break even with 2,100 patients, but it’s hoping to serve 5,000 patients to qualify for certain federal subsidies. About 11,000 potential patients live in the facility’s proposed five-town service area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also stepped in, loaning $3.3 million to help acquire the land, begin construction and purchase equipment. Another $200,000 that will be announced today will go toward construction.

“It’s a tremendous turning point and it’s a huge statement in terms of support from the community,” Samson said of the groundbreaking. “I have a lot more work to go.”

Although the project has about $530,000 in the bank to cover initial operating costs, Samson said, backers hope to raise $600,000 before the clinic opens. The nonprofit also has to hire its entire staff and begin the work of planning for long-term funding.

Construction is expected to take about 280 days and the clinic is expected to open in early spring 2017.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility will begin at 1:30 p.m. today at the site in Canaan.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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