Martin Point Health Care announced Tuesday afternoon that it will close its Windham branch May 11 due to “medical staffing issues.”

According to Communications Director Mary Lynn Engel, the non-profit health care facility located on Route 302 since 1991 has been unable to find a replacement for its only primary care physician, Dr. Stephen Nemeroff M.D., who announced in late January he is leaving for another position in Poland.

Martin’s Point said it regrets the closure but made the “tough decision” to close the doors in the “best interests of the patients.” The non-profit organization denied that the facility was struggling financially.

“Money had nothing to do with this. We could have hired someone on a temporary basis but we feel our patients deserve better than that,” Engel said. “It’s very hard to find qualified individuals. We have very tight, and strong ideals as to what we want in a physician, and we feel it’s in the best interests that our patients shouldn’t wait for our facility to find a permanent replacement for Dr. Nemeroff.”

Engel said the organization hired Nemeroff two years ago and that the transition was a hard one on patients, an experience the organization didn’t want to impose on their patients yet again. She said Martin’s Point regrets closing but that it “had no other choice.”

“We didn’t want to have to close, but it’s very important for us that our patients receive excellent care and as of (Nemeroff’s) departure, we won’t be able to provide that level of care our patients deserve,” Engel said.

Engel said Martin’s Point is “very careful” about the doctors they hire. She also said doctors are very particular about where they set up practice and with Martin’s Point currently operating with three doctors, it would be hard for Martin’s Point to attract someone of high quality who would be willing to stay for a long period of time.

“If we wanted, we could hire someone, but that’s not what we want. We strive to get the best doctors possible. And right now, we don’t have the time to fine a qualified doctor who can take over immediately,” Engel said.

She said the branch has been operating with one primary care provider, a nurse practitioner and a pediatrician for the past two years.

“Ideally, you’d like to see six doctors in a facility for vacation and coverage reasons. That’s optimum. We really can’t leave a practice open with only two doctors,” Engel said.

Engel said she is currently in the process of sending out letters to the 3,000 currently enrolled patients of Martin’s Point in Windham. Those clients will receive an explanatory note and instructions on how to continue their care either at other Windham area heath care providers or at other Martins Point locations in Portland, Brunswick or Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Engel also said there will be three upcoming informational meetings to discuss the branch’s closing at the Windham Public Library. The hour-long sessions are Apr. 14 starting at 3 and 6 p.m. and April 16 starting at 10 a.m.

“We understand this will be very hard for patients, and we’re trying to make it as easy for them as possible,” Engel said.

David H. Howes, M.D. president of Martin’s Point Health Care, said the commitment by Martin’s Point to the Greater Windham community will remain strong.

“Our support of youth soccer, adult education, the skate park, library lectures and employee lectures will not stop,” he said. “We look forward to our continued involvement in a community where many Martin’s Point employees live.”

Martin’s Point Windham branch closing

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