PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Despite the aging population of the region, Aroostook County lacks enough rheumatologists at hospitals and medical facilities to care for patients suffering from diseases such as arthritis, gout, lupus and joint pain.
So when a longtime Lewiston rheumatologist who had conducted a clinic at The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle once a month for 25 years announced plans for retirement, the hospital was concerned.
But TAMC has met the growing demand by adding two rheumatologists, John Assini, MD, and Philip Molloy, MD, to the consulting medical staff. The move will give the hospital more coverage than they have ever had before.
Dr. Jay Reynolds, TAMC vice president, chief operating officer and chief medical officer, said the addition of Assini and Molloy will help alleviate the wait for patients and avoid the need to travel outside the area to receive care.
Cam Hayward, manager of TAMC’s outpatient clinic, said Tuesday evening that when the hospital had the Lewiston rheumatologist hosting the clinic, any new patients who wanted to be seen had to first travel to Lewiston for the consultation visit.
Assini and Molloy specialize in providing care for patients with various forms of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and pain disorders that affect the joints. Both are board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology.
Assini received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his medical degree from Albany Medical Center College. After completing his internal medicine training at Albany Medical Center Hospital, he completed his rheumatology fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. Assini has operated his own private practice in Schenectady, N.Y., for more than 30 years.
Molloy received his medical degree in 1981 from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. After finishing his internal medicine training at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis, he went on to complete a rheumatology/immunology fellowship from Tufts. He has operated his own private practice in Plymouth, Mass., for more than 25 years and also was a member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States from 1987 to 1994.
Lancaster said it was important to the hospital to get someone hired to replace the departing rheumatologist. The hospital sees 12 to 15 patients per day through the clinic. Both Hayward and Lancaster credited the retiring doctor with helping to attract the new physicians.