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Health clinic ends temporary oversight by Samaritan

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The North Country Family Health Center, near closure because of a financial crisis several months ago, has recovered to the point where it is ending its temporary arrangement with Samaritan Medical Center for oversight of the facility.

Formerly known as the Children’s Clinic, the Arsenal Street health-care facility was just days from closing in October when Samaritan stepped in to stabilize the clinic’s operations. This afternoon, the two organizations announced that the temporary operator agreement has been ended. Full control of the agency has been returned to the NCFHC Board of Directors.

“This is truly a milestone to celebrate,” said Executive Director Joey Marie Horton in a news release. “Thanks to a great deal of community assistance, most notably by Samaritan, and the concerted efforts of our board and staff, we have reached a point where our agency has a bright and financially sustainable future.”

The decision to end the temporary operator agreement was made by the clinic and Samaritan, and has been endorsed by the state Department of Health.

The decision to end the agreement does not sever the ties between the facilities, however. According to the release, the clinic “will maintain close ties with Samaritan and will continue to receive mentoring services from Samaritan’s CEO and CFO.”

“We have built a solid, collaborative relationship with the whole Samaritan team,” Ms. Horton said in the release, “and the Health Center looks forward to continuing this collaborative relationship for years to come.”

The health center is governed by a new slate of officers, elected at the agency’s annual meeting in June: Erika Flint, president; Lynn Pietroski, vice president; Michelle Reff, secretary; and Paul Kraeger, treasurer. The board also elected three additional new members: Jacki Schell, Pamela Beyor and Mark Lavarnway, who join current members Sharon Addison, Sharon Chaple, Brian Dykeman and Elizabeth Mason.

In 2013 the agency provided medical, behavioral health and dental care to 9,471 unique patients in community and school-based clinics in Jefferson and Lewis County and nutrition services, through the WIC Program, to more than 16,000 women and children in Jefferson, Lewis, Franklin and St Lawrence Counties.

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