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Daniel Wasneechak out as Children’s’ Clinic director

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Daniel A. Wasneechak will resign as executive director of the North Country Children’s Clinic, effective Friday, according to Samaritan Medical Center spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle.

Mr. Wasneechak’s 90-day probationary period would have ended next month.

“I really felt they need to be in a more strategic situation than I can provide,” he said.

Just two weeks ago, Mr. Wasneechak told a Times reporter he was committed to the organization and its mission, despite its financial struggles. Around that time — on Oct. 8 — the clinic faced immediate closure due to mounting financial pressure and inability to pay employees, but the clinic stayed open after Samaritan Medical Center approved giving a loan of up to $200,000 for up to one month as a safety net to the organization. That decision also included the state Department of Health approving Samaritan as temporary operator of the Children’s Clinic.

Ms. Kittle said Samaritan “tapped into the name of Joey Marie Horton” who will “serve in an advisory capacity until the temporary order is finalized.”

Once the order is finalized by Samaritan, the state Department of Health and the Children’s Clinic, Mrs. Horton would then become the clinic’s interim director, Ms. Kittle said.

Mrs. Horton, who works at North Country Healthcare Providers Educational and Research Fund Inc. as part of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization office, is also the FDRHPO deputy director. She has in the past served as the Children’s Clinic’s school-based health program coordinator, and was co-executive director of the state Coalition for School-Based Health Centers.

Ms. Kittle said she hopes the temporary order is finalized soon, although a date has yet to be determined.

Samaritan will continue to work closely with both the clinic and state health department as those parties continue to work on developing a long-term plan for the clinic, Ms. Kittle said.

She said no other administrative changes are expected to occur in the immediate future. She said it also was unclear if the Children’s Clinic had received $275,000 it is owed from a series of federal grants.

The clinic has been struggling under $1.5 million in debt.

Since Samaritan became temporary operator earlier this month, Ms. Kittle said, there has been no disruption in service to patients and staff remains in place to provide adults and children with medical, dental, mental and other health care needs.

Mr. Wasneechak joined the Children’s Clinic in mid-August. Mr. Wasneechak was selected for the clinic’s top position from among 10 applicants and had been supported unanimously by both the board and staff. Before joining the clinic, he was director of government programs at Martin’s Point Health Care in Portland, Maine, where he was responsible for ongoing operations, development and execution of the comprehensive strategic plan for the Tricare Uniformed Services Family Health Plan at Martin’s Point.

Prior to Mr. Wasneechak’s appointment, agency cofounder and former executive director Janice L. Charles ran the agency on an interim basis. Mrs. Charles held that interim post for several months after former executive director Collene D. Alexander resigned after just three months on the job.

Calls seeking comment to Mrs. Charles and Board President Angela M. Gray were not immediately returned. When a Times reporter called Marketing Director Elaine P. Garvey, she referred comment to Ms. Kittle, and said any further such requests would also be forwarded to Ms. Kittle.

Mr. Wasneechak said he grew up in the Southern Tier,and hopes to remain in New York. He has a wife, Barbara, and three grown children.

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