From the community

Expanded TAMC health center hours offer convenience during flu season

Posted Jan. 27, 2014, at 6:56 p.m.

As flu season is underway, TAMC is reminding the public that there are new, expanded hours at their health centers in Caribou, Fort Fairfield and Mars Hill to provide added convenience to people who need the services that those clinics offer.

The new hours, which were implemented as a permanent expansion in 2013, include evening appointments until 6:00 p.m. at both the Fort Fairfield and Caribou Health Centers on Tuesdays. The normal office hours for those locations are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and now from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. Lab draw services start at 7:30 a.m. each day in Fort Fairfield and at 8:00 a.m. in Caribou.

The Mars Hills Health Center expanded hours are on Thursdays, with the office clinic opening at 7:30 a.m. for lab draws and the doctor seeing patients from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Beyond the expanded hours on Thursdays, normal daily hours at the Mars Hill Health Center are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Expanded hours provide additional access to routine and acute care appointments outside of regular business hours,” said Darcy Walsh, manager of the Mars Hill Health Center.

TAMC Health Centers provide local access to a variety of primary care needs, from routine examinations to preventative and acute care, as well as lab draw services. The centers also offer access to mental health, diabetes education and care coordination services.

“TAMC primary care clinics are committed to providing the right care, at the right place, at the right time,” said Kerry Spooner, manager of the Fort Fairfield Health Center and the Caribou Health Center. “We recognize that not all patients can be available for appointments during regular business hours and that we have an obligation to be available to our patients when they need us.”

Walsh agreed, saying, “By continuing to offer expanded hours, this gives a greater opportunity in meeting the needs of the patients and families we serve.”

Winter months bring an increase in patients with cold or flu symptoms. The expanded hours add a level of convenience to patients in need of quality health care who live in or around the communities where the TAMC health centers are located. The evening hours allow people to work around their employment schedule when they have a medical need, reducing valuable time away from their jobs.

“We hope patients take advantage of our evening access hours and choose to call our practices when they need to have an appointment,” said Spooner. “When our patients have the option of going to their primary care provider rather than having to use the Emergency Department after hours for their routine medical care, it benefits all of us. It increases the quality of care for our patients, and decreases the cost overall cost of their care as well.”

To make an appointment at the Fort Fairfield Health Center, located at 23 High Street in Fort Fairfield, the public can call (207) 768-4573. The Caribou Health Center is located at 118 Bennett Drive, Suite 130, and the public can make an appointment there by calling (207) 498-3476. For an appointment at the Mars Hill Health Center, located at 106 Main Street in Mars Hill, call (207) 429-8333.

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