April 09, 2020

Pleasant Point Health Center plans expansion

PLEASANT POINT — A $70,000 addition to the Pleasant Point Health Center will expand emergency services to the facility’s more than 1,300 patients. The expansion, which was funded by the tribe, is expected to be completed in the spring.

In 1985 when Brian Altvater took over as director of the health center, there were fewer than 20 staff members. Since then, the staff has grown to 55 full- and part-time employees, and the center offers many more services.

The health center is located in the heart of the reservation near the Beatrice Rafferty Elementary School. In addition to medical and dental services, the center also provides pharmaceutical, mental health and substance abuse services, a weekly chiropractic clinic, a women’s wellness clinic, a monthly podiatry clinic and a diabetes program.

The center also plans to add several new positions in the future, including a hygienist, a health educator and an environmental health technician.

The center also has contracted with a Portland company to provide weekend paramedic service to augment the reservation’s ambulance service. “In addition, the people we have contracted with will be doing some training, so that at some point in time we actually will have a native American paramedic from our community,” Assistant Director Sandi Yarmal said.

Although there is a small emergency room, the expansion will allow it to expand to four times its present size. “They will have all the equipment in there, the defibrillator and oxygen, everything they need,” Altvater said.

Although the emergency room will be expanded, it will not replace the full-scale emergency room services provided by Down East Community Hospital in Machias and Calais Regional Hospital.

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