ORONO, Maine — The ‘doctor is in’ on Mill Street. Or will be soon, when longtime local physician Harry Peddie hangs out his MedNow shingle on April 11 at Orono Pharmacy.
Peddie, 77, provided walk-in, urgent and primary care services in Orono from 1989 until July of last year when, citing financial problems, he closed his practice at the Orono Medical Center near the corner of Main Street and Kelley Road. The building formerly known as MedNow is empty, shuttered and for sale.
But Peddie, it turns out, is a hard man to keep down. On Thursday, he was all smiles as he joined Ali Aghamoosa, pharmacist and owner of Orono Pharmacy, in announcing the opening of the new storefront walk-in clinic. The clinic will be located at the front of the pharmacy, in a space that was previously occupied by an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and a video rental counter.
“We thought it was a needed service,” Peddie said. “We’ll provide rapid access to care, primarily for minor conditions and to separate minor illnesses from serious illnesses.”
With plenty of young families, college students, senior citizens and others contributing to the foot traffic on Mill Street, Peddie expects to provide an experienced clinical eye and front-line care for straightforward conditions such as colds and flu, minor infections and common injuries. He also will perform school and camp physicals and other routine services.
He’s not looking to compete with more established primary care practices in the area.
“I won’t participate in ongoing care,” Peddie said. Patients who need more extensive services than he can provide in a single visit will be provided with a paper record and referred to their own physicians, other clinics or a hospital emergency room, he said.
Aghamoosa, who has been filling prescriptions on Mill Street since 2000, said Peddie’s familiar presence in his store will draw customers and be good for business.
“It will be convenient for people having the clinic here on the premises, and if they need a prescription we’re right here in the same facility,” he said. “This is an added value to the services we provide.”
Peddie will be on Aghamoosa’s payroll, along with Peddie’s wife, Pam, who will resume her duties as receptionist, patient greeter and medical assistant. The 1,200-square-foot clinic, which will feature two exam rooms, a bathroom and a reception area, is expected to operate only part time initially, but may expand hours if there is enough demand, Aghamoosa said.
Aghamoosa and Peddie are still working on a billing model, but they suspect patients will be asked to pay a modest $40-$50 office visit fee and then submit the receipt to their insurance companies for reimbursement.
They pointed out that the goal is to provide careful, convenient and accurate health care to local residents, in contrast to what Peddie calls the “treat ’em and street ’em” model common to some larger practices.
“This is going to be good, old-fashioned medicine,” Aghamoosa said. “He’ll spend time with his patients, and as I fill their prescriptions, I’ll have time to talk to them as customers. This is just another layer of service for our customers.”