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February 9, 2018

Jackman health clinic seeks state’s help to maintain 24-hour service

Residents of Jackman are asking state lawmakers for $500,000 to maintain 24-hour services at the Jackman Community Health Center.

Maine Public reported that supporters are seeking the one-time appropriation to fund on-call services until the clinic finds a long-term solution to its staffing challenges. The center is the only health care option for miles, with the nearest hospital 50 miles away.

Jackman's health center used to be staffed on overnights and weekends by MaineGeneral in Augusta. But the hospital ended its operations in September, after sustaining losses for a decade. So the clinic has been using on-call service during evenings and weekends.

"So the key about why we're looking for funding is that we have to have a provider on call, we have to have some sort of nurse on call. The ambulance needs to be on call," Sarah Dubay, spokeswoman for Penobscot Community Health Center, which operates the clinic, said at a legislative hearing on the matter.

But Democratic state Rep. Dale Denno, a member of the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, said lawmakers are usually reluctant to do one-time deals.

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