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More docs, more services at new medical center

PEPPERELL — “The enthusiasm that’s happening in downtown Pepperell is unbelievable.”

“The medical center has a lot to do with that enthusiasm,” said Derek Ten Broeck, the president of the Pepperell Business Association.

The association met for breakfast on Oct. 24 to hear from Scott Cote, vice president of facilities and emergency management for Foundation Medical Partners.

The foundation, part of Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, headquartered in Nashua, is building a new medical center on Main Street.

When the Pepperell center opens, it will be the first New Hampshire organization to provide health care in Massachusetts, Cote said.

He expects the medical practice to be up and running in the new building by mid-January.

Locals identified the need for a medical center in town. Pepperell doctor David Spiegelman, approached Southern New Hampshire Medical Center two years ago.

Transitioning to a group practice was both a business and a patient-care decision for the doctor who has practiced in town since October 1977.

“It got more and more difficult to maintain an individual practice,” Spiegelman said. He now heads Pepperell Family Practice.

His working relationship with the New Hampshire group is positive. “As an organization, they just get it,” he said.

The practice will expand once it is in the new center. “It’s pretty amazing that Pepperell will have six doctors,” Spiegelman said.

The family practice will occupy half of the 11,000-square-foot building.

An immediate care clinic and radiology and lab services will be in the other half.

The immediate care clinic is projected to open a few months after the doctors’ offices, Cote said.

The walk-in clinic, open seven days a week, will be for non-life-threatening conditions. The co-pay will be the same as that for a primary-care physician.

The lab will be able to handle basic services like X-rays. More complex testing will be available in Nashua.

Most Massachusetts insurance plans will cover services at Southern New Hampshire, Cote said. The exception are a few smaller insurance providers and plans through the MassHealth network that will only cover out-of-state services in an emergency.

Physicians at Pepperell Family Practice will have admitting privileges at Nashoba Valley Medical Center, Spiegelman said. Nashoba and Southern New Hampshire are both about a 15-minute ride from town.

The association with the medical group will mean more regional services for Pepperell patients. “There’s an awful lot of collaboration going on,” Cote said.

Southern New Hampshire partners with other institutions to provide services such as oncology, cardiology and ambulatory services.

The Pepperell medical center is the sixth center Cote has worked on constructing in the past five years.

He praised the town’s commitment to getting the center completed.

“It was the best process, the best town to work with,” he said.

After meeting with Spiegelman, he met with the fire chief, town administrator and department heads to learn what the community needed.

“You want to make sure you do it, and you do it right the first time,” he said.

When the building is up and running, 30 and 35 people will work there, he said.

Some of the incoming doctors will bring patients with them, but there will be plenty of space for new patients, Spiegelman said.

“It will be quite a while before we are filled up,” he said.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.

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