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Sackets Harbor medical clinic prepares to open


SACKETS HARBOR — Days away from the opening of a new clinic in the village, residents spoke favorably of the services it could offer them.

The clinic, at 107 Barracks Road, is scheduled to open Tuesday.

At an open house Wednesday night, dozens of people could be seen walking in and out of the clinic and talking with staff members.

Mary D. Whalen, interim administrator for the Samaritan Family Health Network, said the clinic would make things easier for village residents.

“The convenience of having health care where they live, not having to travel, it will very much help those people,” she said.

Thomas H. Carman, CEO of Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, said at the event the hospital had received confirmation of the opening date earlier in the day.

He described the past two months of preparing for its opening as “very hectic.”

The hospital has already hired a physician’s assistant, a registered nurse and a clerk to staff the clinic.

Though the clinic is primarily for family practice and basic lab work, hospital administrators are considering the addition of X-ray services.

Stephen L. Swain, who lives on General Smith Drive, called it a “great asset for the community.”

“For me, it’s a no-brainer,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”

Stephanie J. Elliott, who attended the event with her husband, Kevin, said she could see herself taking her children there for school sports physicals.

“You get that call from the school nurse, and this is where you can get it done,” she said.

John E. Schmonsees said the clinic “adds health care at the level it needs to be.”

Though he and his wife, Linda A., who live on Jefferson Street, see a doctor in Watertown, they said the clinic could be useful for minor problems arising between their appointments.

Before the 2,300-square-foot Samaritan clinic could be set up, the space, a former chiropractic office, had to be gutted and redone by Lawler Commercial Properties to meet state Department of Health standards.

Though early estimates pegged the renovations’ costs at about $150,000, the hospital and developer did not release the final expenses for the work.

However, the developer’s repair costs will be reimbursed through additions to the hospital’s rent.

The hospital had initially asked for some financial support from the village Board of Trustees and the Hounsfield Town Council to help cover potential early losses.

However, both municipalities declined to do so, citing concerns about creating a precedent of providing public money for private projects.

The clinic is next to a smaller outreach clinic Carthage Area Hospital used to operate before it closed it in May 2012.

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