Aroostook County – Renovations that began late last year on the ground level of the Ashland Health Center are completed and that means residents in the greater Ashland community will now be able to see their ophthalmologist closer to home. A ribbon cutting for TAMC Eye Care Services’ new location at the Virginia S. Pinkham Building in Ashland was held today.
As part of a collaborative effort between Katahdin Valley Health Center (KVHC) and TAMC to expand both primary and specialty care services to residents of Ashland and surrounding towns, TAMC Eye Care Services will now provide residents in and around the town of Ashland the opportunity to schedule appointments for key services locally.
Several days each month, Mark Morin, MD will offer their services in Ashland to serve residents of Ashland, Portage Lake, Masardis, Garfield Plantation, Oxbow Plantation, Nashville Plantation and the surrounding communities. The expansion of TAMC Eye Care Services, from the main office on the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital campus in Presque Isle to the Ashland Health Center, will bring several new services closer to home for area residents.
As a native of Ashland, Dr. Morin is happy to be returning to his home town to provide services to the community.
“Having the opportunity to offer ophthalmology services in my hometown of Ashland is deeply satisfying for me both personally and professionally. It is truly a pleasure to provide care to the residents of Ashland and the surrounding communities, many of whom I have known since childhood,” said Dr. Morin.
Working together, the doctors will see patients for a variety of eye care needs, including non-dilated and dilated eye examinations for conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration and cataract, as well as in-office surgical procedures including intraocular injections and excision of lesions and skin cancers. Given the region’s aging population and prevalence of chronic disease that requires close monitoring of associated ophthalmology concerns, the demand for these services is great.
“By providing eye care services in Ashland, patients will have easier access to eye care, with less need for travel. Our goal is to decrease waiting time for appointments for patients with non-emergent eye care needs,” said Mary Beaulieu, manager of TAMC Eye Care Services.
TAMC is constantly assessing how they can better meet the needs of patients by improving access to other types of care close to home. The doctors from TAMC Eye Care Services will come to the Ashland Health Center, which is located on the lower level in Virginia Pinkham Building at 33 Walker Street in Ashland, on varying days each month, seeing patients from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Travel in rural areas is often a significant barrier to patients’ obtaining needed medical care. With our new office, patients in the Ashland area will have easier access to eye care. We are excited to be able to offer this service,” added Dr. Martin.
To prepare for the expansion of service in Ashland, and with the help of a generous donation from an anonymous benefactor, TAMC modified the existing space on the lower level of the Virginia Pinkham Building to accommodate for both an existing dental practice and for Eye Care Services. Two patient exam rooms for the Eye Care Services clinic were equipped. Altogether, this latest investment by TAMC in the greater Ashland community represents nearly $100,000.
People wishing to make appointment can ask their primary health care provider or optometrist for a referral, or they can call TAMC Eye Care Services at 207-764-7900, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The ribbon cutting ceremony, hosted by the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, was part of an open house/Ashland Summerfest kick-off celebration hosted by KVHC and TAMC on July 3.