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Children’s clinic pays off $125,000 loan to Watertown Trust

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The Watertown Trust has received some good financial news about the North Country Family Health Center.

Last week, the Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, learned that the health center could pay back a $125,000 loan given to the clinic before the nonprofit organization was forced to reorganize.

Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Trust, confirmed Thursday that the health center, at 238 Arsenal St., was able repay the loan with $1,100 interest.

In October, Samaritan Medical Center took over as operator of the center, formerly known as the North Country Children’s Clinic, after it appeared the health facility was going to be forced to close because of financial troubles. Since then, Samaritan officials and the state Department of Health have been working with the health center to get the agency back on its financial feet.

On Thursday, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said he heard the financial situation has improved.

Mr. Rutherford said Thomas H. Carman, Samaritan’s president and CEO, told him that the situation has “stabilized,” so that the loan could be paid back.

Per their conversation, Mr. Carman told him “things were much, much better than they were,” Mr. Rutherford said, noting Samaritan officials have improved the way the clinic is run. He also was told the clinic “made a small profit” last month.

Samaritan agreed to take over the clinic for six months. Mr. Rutherford said he was told it appears the two 90-day extensions will not be needed after that initial six months has passed and its board will then be able to take control of the nonprofit.

The health center has been able to function temporarily since mid-October thanks to a loan of up to $200,000 from Samaritan and through a temporary operator agreement with both organizations and the state Health Department.

Krista A. Kittle, who now handles initial communications for the health center, could not be reached for comment.

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