Mascoma Clinic Nearly Ready

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    "I have white coat syndrome," said Nancy Ricard, of Canaan, as she explored the nearly complete Mascoma Community Health Center in Canaan, N.H., Monday, March 27, 2017, with her husband Alan Ricard, an EMT on the town's ambulance squad. "When I walk into DHMC my heart starts racing. So coming to a place like this would be a little less stressful," said Nancy. "And you know some of the people," said Alan. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Board Vice Chair Peter Thurber speaks to visitors during an open house at the Mascoma Community Health Center, which has nearly completed construction in Canaan, N.H., Monday, March 27, 2017. About 200 visitors attended the event meant to acquaint the community with the building, inform them about planned services and recruit patients. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Callie Cox, of Canaan, right, talks with Jen Walker, of Canaan, left, after leavig an open house at the newly built Mascoma Community Health Center in Canaan, N.H., Monday, March 27, 2017. The building is being funded with a loan from USDA Rural Development and is seeking to fill a void of dental, primary and mental health care, among other disciplines, in an area with few other accessible options. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Scott Barry, the Mascoma Community Health Center project manager and recruitment committee chair, leads visitors to the new building on a tour through the nearly complete dental offices in the building in Canaan, N.H., Monday, March 28, 2017. The health center plans to house providers in dental, family practice, mental health, physical therapy, and more in the building which was located to equally serve the towns of Enfield, Canaan, Dorchester, Orange and Grafton. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/29/2017 12:11:49 AM
Modified: 3/30/2017 4:46:25 PM

Canaan — After years of planning and work, officials said construction of the Mascoma Community Health Center is nearly complete, and the facility likely will see its first patients in June.

The health center, located at the corner of Route 4 and Roberts Road in Canaan, is expected to open with primary care services, dental care and behavioral health care offered under the same roof, built over the past year with a $3.5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The building is probably 99 percent complete in terms of structure,” said Tim Jennings, a board member of Mascoma Community Healthcare, the nonprofit spearheading the project. “All that’s really left to do is some final work — finishing some landscaping, putting up the signage.”

Construction of the 13,000-square-foot building began in May with USDA backing and about $530,000 from local donors. At the time, about 2,700 people had pledged they would use the clinic, about 600 more than the 2,100 officials said is needed to break even on the project.

To prepare for those patients, Jennings said, the nonprofit will dedicate the month of April to getting the center up and running. The space is mostly empty right now, he said, but examining tables, dental chairs and computers needed to operate the health center are expected to be delivered soon.

In May, staff members will be introduced to the building and begin preparing the policies and patient paperwork for opening day, Jennings said.

The center already has hired several staffers, including Clinical Director Donna Ransmeier, who previously worked as the director of information systems and quality at Little Rivers Health Care in Bradford, Vt.

“I think it’s going well. It’s actually been challenging, but it’s also been exciting to see something like this come together,” Ransmeier said by phone on Tuesday.

She said the Mascoma center’s community focus drew her to the project, as did its board members, who are willing to put in hard work to make the clinic operational.

“Every single person on the board has been very involved and offered so much to the project,” Ransmeier said.

The board also has hired Ben Gardner, a pediatrician currently working for Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College, and Enfield doctor David Beaufait also will work part-time at the center.

Patients also appeared to approve of the project during a public forum at the center on Monday. About 175 people attended the event, and 150 returned home with new patient packets, according to officials.

“I have white coat syndrome,” said Nancy Ricard, of Canaan, as she explored the facility on Monday.

“When I walk into Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, my heart starts racing, so coming to a place like this would be a little less stressful,” she said.

“And you know some of the people,” noted her husband, Alan Ricard, an EMT with the town’s ambulance service.

The center is designed so that all of its departments will work together for patients, board member Peter Thurber said. The physicians, dentists and behavioral teams are all expected to work in tandem to treat patients, he said.

There’s also room for that team to grow. In the future, the building could house X-ray services, physical therapy, rehab and a pharmacy, Thurber said.

Those types of services also will require more money. Down the road, patients may be able to receive primary health care, dental care and prescriptions for a flat fee of about $1,500. For now, the center also is working to accept most forms of insurance.

Even with that money coming in, the health center will continue to rely on donations to survive, according to board member Scott Berry.

“In a community health center, you have to reach out in the community for donations on a very regular basis,” he said on Tuesday, adding that the nonprofit will be running several fundraising campaigns this year.

Between April 2016 and this month, Mascoma Community Healthcare reported raising $112,317 through contributions, about $79,200 less than the nonprofit budgeted. In the future, the board has set a goal of raising $100,000 a year, according to meeting minutes.

The group also reported having $185,296 in the bank. But meeting minutes indicate between $400,000 and $450,000 is needed by opening day.

Berry said the board is still in the process of reporting its construction expenses to the USDA for reimbursement, and he’s confident they’ll have they necessary funds by opening day some time in early June.

“We’re in great shape. We’ve managed our loan money really well,” he said, adding that the board was able to purchase more dentist stations thanks to leftover funds.

“We’re in a good place to be able to open and grow,” Berry said.

Thurber agreed, and reiterated that the center will likely always rely on donations to get by. He said the first few years the center is open also will be important to proving its long-term health.

“We need to make sure that we are viable as an organization over the first several years,” he said.

More information on the health center and plans for its future at

Valley News photographer James M. Patterson contributed to this report.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.


Dr. David Beaufait plans to work two days a week at the Mascoma Community Health Center while also continuing his solo practice in Enfield on Route 4. A story in Wednesday's Valley News mischaracterized Beaufait's plans.

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