Valley News – Clinic launches fundraising effort

BRADFORD, Vt. — Little Rivers Health Care seeks to expand with the help of a $6.2 million capital campaign, its first.

The Bradford-based federally qualified health center has seen a 78% increase in patient visits in the past five years. In 2021, Little Rivers cared for 5,822 people through 35,588 visits, according to the nonprofit’s capital campaign materials.

“Although we’ve successfully expanded our staff to meet this demand, we haven’t been able to expand our buildings prior to this campaign, which is hampering our ability to care for our community,” Andrew Barter, Little Rivers’ chief executive officer, said in a Thursday news release.

The nonprofit, which was formed in 2005, now employs 15 medical providers, four psychiatric nurse practitioners and 10 mental health professionals. That includes several positions that the organization added during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our facilities are not large enough for the services that we have grown to offer!” Barter said in a Monday email.

Little Rivers has an annual operating budget of about $10 million. Now, through the campaign, “People You Know, The Care You Trust,” it is seeking funds for expansions at three of its four sites.

The expansions in Wells River, $2.97 million, and Bradford, $1.3 million, include adding space and modernizing the facilities.

Little Rivers also is seeking $1.34 million for its dental sites in Wells River and Newbury.

It aims to build a new clinic, including six exam rooms, in the former Jiffy Mart in Wells River, beginning in 2023, and to add two dental exam rooms to the Newbury clinic, which was purchased in 2021.

Through the dental clinics, Little Rivers expects to care for 6,000 people annually and serve as a training ground for future dental professionals.

“The most critical aspect of our dental clinic will be the professionals who staff it,” according to the campaign materials. “So while we are investing in buildings and equipment, our greatest investment will be in people.”

In addition, the organization is seeking $150,000 to improve the Newbury clinic and make it more accessible, including renovating the bathrooms to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Little Rivers also is seeking $200,000 for its administrative offices and $250,000 in planning and administrative oversight.

The expansions in total include 21 primary care, dental care and behavioral health rooms in Bradford, Newbury and Wells River. Group therapy and education rooms are planned for Bradford and Newbury.

Elevators and negative pressure rooms, which prevent infectious illnesses from spreading between exam rooms, are planned for Bradford and Wells River.

So far, the nonprofit has raised $4.4 million of the $6.2 million it is seeking. Funds raised so far include $100,000 from relatives of Mary Whitney Rowe and Dr. Harry Rowe, who opened a family medicine practice in a white farmhouse on Main Street in Wells River in 1951. That clinic, now part of Little Rivers, will be renamed the Whitney Rowe Clinic in honor of the Rowes.

“We’re sure they would love to see what LRHC is doing to carry on their lives’ work,” their son John Rowe said in the release. “We look forward to seeing the vision come to fruition.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.



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