Clinic opens doors to public

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MANCHESTER — A collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout the community when Manchester Medical Center — an urgent care clinic that specializes in treating emergency and non-emergency illnesses and injuries — has opened its doors.

Located at 34 Bonnet St., the center will hold a grand opening Tuesday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Visitors are invited to meet the staff and look around the recently renovated space, which feels more like a comfortable coffee shop than a medical office.

Emergency medicine physicians Dr. Janel Kittredge and her husband, Dr. Thomas Sterling, are behind the new clinic. Each has more than 10 years of experience in emergency medicine.

With the closest emergency room half an hour away, Kittredge and Sterling recognized the need for an urgent care facility in the community, which would provide people access to doctors.

"That's why this is so important. People want to know, is this illness or bump in my eye a big deal or is it not a big deal," Kittredge says. "That's what we're here for, reassurance."

The medical center will be open 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

While the plan was to open the urgent care in 2017, financing the venture and renovating a structure, which was built in the 1800s, proved more time consuming

than anticipated. Kittredge said the delay allowed them extra time to "cherry pick" their paramedics, medical assistants and X-ray technicians.

"We had two years to handpick our staff," Kittredge said. "We were very selective in order to create a culture from the ground up of a

caring, compassionate staff."

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Kittredge said Manchester Medical Center is equipped for treatments and tests including in-house visit related blood work, X-rays, lacerations and the management of fractures with splinting and casting.

"We have the ability to do all the orthopedic work," Kittredge said. "We are trained to manage acute illnesses and injuries that involves the whole-body system. When you're trained a certain way, it's hard not to have everything we need."

While technology and expertise are essential in a medical office, for some patients, it's the presence of a four-legged friend that makes the difference when it comes to

reducing the amount of stress involved in a doctor's visit. With this in mind, Doc Wilson, a yellow Labrador puppy who is the clinic's therapy dog in training, is onsite to help distract patients who are feeling anxious or suffering severe pain.

As for the future of MMC, Kittredge says they plan on renovating the back half of the building, which will allow them to add five more exam rooms to their three current, bringing the total to eight. The space will also allow them to have a dedicated X-ray room so they can replace their temporary X-ray machine with a permanent digital X-ray machine and to bring in a primary care physician.

"We know the town needs primary care providers," Kittredge said.

Currently, the clinic only takes drop-in visits but once a primary care physician is in place, they will be able to schedule appointments.

At this time, the clinic accepts payment at the time of service. They offer payment plans and are able to charge based on a sliding scale. They are not participating in insurance coverage yet, but are in the credentialing process with insurance companies and should be fully participating in three months. As a courtesy, the office will submit a claim form to a patient's insurance company for reimbursement or to be applied toward their deductible.

"Our mindset is not to turn people away," Kittredge said. "Patients first, we'll deal with money later."

To help cover the costs of those who can't afford health care, MMC has established the Manchester Medical Center Foundation.

For more information about the clinic or to contribute to the Foundation, call 802-768-1718 or go to manchestermedicalcenter.com.


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