EAST MACHIAS – No more 20-mile drives to Lubec.
That’s means r-e-l-i-e-f for many residents since a new health clinic opened along U.S. Route 1 in East Machias.
The clinic is a branch of HealthWays, which has operated in Lubec since 1971 and was known for many years as the Regional Medical Center of Lubec.
“We are open, but the grand opening comes on Nov. 2,” said Carol Carew, the CEO for HealthWays.
Until the week of Oct. 30, the federally qualified health clinic will be open for clients old and new on Tuesdays and Fridays. Starting Oct. 30, the clinic will be open five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It is open to all, regardless of one’s ability to pay.
“We will see anyone, whether you have insurance or no income at all,” Carew said.
HealthWays last November put in a request to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, and in May learned the clinic would be funded.
“We identified a need for people in East Machias who cannot normally afford medical care,” Carew said. “We put in a request for a change of scope, and it was granted.”
The clinic is staffed by Dr. Edwin Tan, who will provide a full range of family health services, and Diana Hayden, a family nurse practitioner.
While Tan previously worked in Jonesport and Machias before joining HealthWays about 21/2 years ago, Hayden is new to Down East, coming from the Portland area. Her specialty is women’s health and pediatrics.
Carew anticipates the new clinic will serve about 800 people each year, which translates into about 4,200 “encounters.”
HealthWays is leasing the 2,500-square-foot building from Lyle Guptill of Guptill’s Logging. It is next door to Guptill’s Lawn and Garden store. Jack August, the builder from Wesley, worked since Aug. 1 to transform the property into doctors’ offices.
Already HealthWays has its administration and head clinic in Lubec; two offices in Calais for Sunrise County Home Care and substance abuse counseling; and one in Machias, also for home care and counseling.
The East Machias grand opening will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2. Clinic personnel will be on hand, and a variety of health screenings will be available.