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New Health Care Clinic Named
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, October 3, 2012
The Fort Fairfield Quality of Place Council recently voted to name Fort Fairfield's proposed health clinic the Kimball Community Clinic. “We spent some time drawing a parallel between the community effort that took place back in the late 40's and early 50’s to create a health care facility for the benefit of the citizens of this community,” said town manager, Dan Foster. “Their efforts were not unlike what we've been doing since 2008. The whole idea is this community, specifically three individual groups, have come together to discuss how the citizens of this community will continue to have access to local healthcare. That is very much like what happened in the late 40's through early 50's and one of the driving forces behind that effort was Dr. Herrick Kimball.”
Dr. Kimball's little hospital was replaced with what was to become Community General Hospital through a massive fundraising effort by the community. “He was the one that really initiated this. He was the largest fundraiser. At the time, the people in Fort Fairfield privately raised $230,000 to build what became Community General Hospital. It was clearly a community project and I think what's important for everyone to understand is that this is about the community.”
Community General Hospital was a full service hospital, providing doctors, surgery, x-ray and all other common health care needs. In the early 1980's the Community General Hospital board decided to merge with The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC) in Presque Isle and essentially gave them the building and all assets of Community General with the understanding that they would continue to keep health care services in Fort Fairfield into the future. Over the years, TAMC continued to erode the services provided in Fort Fairfield, transferring them to Presque Isle, leaving a simple health clinic with a few doctors. In 2008, TAMC decided to completely close their health clinic and mothball the entire hospital complex in Fort Fairfield and move all services to Presque Isle. After lengthy negotiations between town officials and TAMC to either remain in Fort Fairfield or return the hospital building that was given to them were eventually deemed fruitless, the town of Fort Fairfield decided to once again build their own health care facility and place health care services out to bid.
After receiving proposals from two area health care facilities, town officials voted to approve Cary Medical Center's Pine's Health Services as the clinic's health care provider. “This is not about a healthcare provider, it's about our community,” explained Foster. “We're doing what we can to ensure that we have reliable healthcare in this community for the citizens.”
The proposed clinic is still in the planning stages and will be located near the current senior citizens' housing project, The Meadows, that will be situated on Presque Isle Street. The health clinic is not a part of the current housing project and will have different owners.
Fort Fairfield Journal ©2012 David R. Deschesne, All Rights Reserved