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There's no place like home

Charlton Family Practice returns to old site

Charlton Family Practice returned to its old site at 246 Southbridge Road earlier this week, after a fire in July 2010 displaced them. (click for larger version)
May 24, 2011
CHARLTON — Nearly 11 months after the building was hit by arson, Charlton Family Practice will be "going home" tomorrow afternoon.

"We're moving in all new things. It's exciting," said Office Manager Kathy Harrington. "… The patients were great; everybody understood."

Since last August, the medical practice has been in the former Fallon Building about two miles north of its normal site, 246 Southbridge Road, but that actually wasn't its only temporary home. For about two weeks after the July 16 fire, it was in an office near Paoletti's in Sturbridge.

Harrington described themselves as "lucky" because the Fallon site was vacant, had some left-behind equipment and was designed to be a medical site. Fallon allowed her practice to use whatever was still there — desks, chairs, scales among them — but CFP had to immediately buy "just what we absolutely needed," especially new computers and exam tables, she said.

That replacement process is still going on. Because all of the equipment was smoke-damaged albeit still functional, the law prohibited its reuse here in the United States, so the Harringtons donated most of it to facilities in Africa and Haiti. The key stuff has since been replaced, but the complex process of digitizing tons of medical records dating back to the practice's birth in the early 1980s will take considerable time, she said.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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