CONWAY — A pair of veteran health-care providers in the Mount Washington Valley have joined forces to open a new clinic in North Conway.
Cranmore Health Partners, owned by Dr. Sohaib Siddiqui and pain management specialist Kelly DeFeo, will provide primary care, urgent care and pain care. The clinic is located in the Willow Common at 1857 White Mountain Boulevard in North Conway, in the former home of M & D Playhouse and the space occupied by the UPS store.
The clinic has no relationship with Cranmore Mountain Resort. The name was picked because it evokes North Conway, the partners said.
Siddiqui, who is medical director at White Mountain Community Health in Conway, has been a physician in the Mount Washington Valley since 2007. He will oversee primary care, walk-in care and urgent care.
Cranmore Health Partners is the only urgent care clinic in Carroll County, a specific designation through the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Siddiqui said there are financial as well as marketing advantages that go with the designation. “The big thing is when people come from out of state. People are used to the words ‘urgent care,’” he said. In addition, most insurance companies quickly recognize the designation.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Siddiqui said, “Our goal is to have no one in the waiting room.” He said patients can wait in their cars and call the clinic to check in. The clinic is also set up for telemedicine.
DeFeo, a nurse anesthetist and family nurse practitioner with 27 years of experience, will head the pain clinic.
There is also a full-service lab, where patients from any medical provider can come have blood drawn for tests.
The clinic also does testing for COVID-19 and for antibodies, and Siddiqui said the lab has been delivering results in about 24 hours.
Lab technician Peter Pandora and physician assistant Alex George round out the staff.
DeFeo and Siddiqui said they plan to expand the staff.
“We’d love to get specialties rotating through here like dermatology, gastrointerology, neurology, rheumatology — specialties that are needed in the valley,” DeFeo said.
Between Siddiqui and DeFeo, the two have worked at just about every health-care facility in Conway. DeFeo has also worked at practices in Wolfeboro and Berlin.
Siddiqui says he experience has given him a unique perspective on health care in the valley.
“When I met Kelly (DeFeo) and we began talking about this place, I had all these ideas, and so did Kelly after years of practicing,” he said.
Siddiqui joined Saco River Medical Group in 2007 after residency in New York. Five years later, he worked at Memorial Hospital in North Conway for five years, becoming president of the medical staff.
He went on to work in family practice in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, and joined the staff at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.
He plans to continue to serve as medical director at White Mountain Community Health, where he oversees and consults with the physician assistants and nurse practitioners there because, he says, "I love their mission.”
However, he is now taking patients only at Cranmore Health Partners.
Siddiqui is one of the few local providers who still does home visits. He says he realizes how harsh some of our winters are.
DeFeo added: “We’ve been in the valley for a long time and we know how to take care of people."
Her specialty is interventional pain management and complex pain conditions that have been typically under-treated in the past. She has been the owner-operator of Dynamic Anesthesia, PLLC in New Hampshire since 2005.
She has worked for PainCare in North Conway and Wolfeboro, and Dynamicare in Tamworth. She also served as director of the Androscoggin Valley Hospital pain clinic in Berlin and its outreach clinic in North Conway.
DeFeo said that due to the difficulty in managing pain medications, including narcotics, many doctors do not want to be involved in it. “People are just getting dumped,” she said. “No one wants to manage them anymore.”
DeFeo works with patients on a wide range of other therapies to address their pain, from physical therapy to medical procedures to block pain, all of which help keep the use of medications as low as possible.
She has served as past president of both the Utah and New Hampshire Association of Nurse Anesthetists for multiple terms. She was clinical instructor for pain management fellowship students for Texas Christian University Pain Fellowship Program and Jack Neary Advanced Pain Management Workshops nationally.
DeFeo also has been a family nurse practitioner representative on the Medical Cannabis Advisory Council, which implemented medical cannabis program for the state of New Hampshire.
She is knowledgeable about the use of cannabis as medicine for her patients.
The clinic, which opened a little over a month ago, has been in the works since last December.
Beyond the waiting area, most of the offices, exam rooms and other facilities are located along one long hallway.
At 5,000 square feet, Siddiqui said it is the largest clinic in the valley.
The construction was slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it harder to get equipment and supplies.
Pointing to an automated external defibrillator hanging on the wall, Siddiqui said, “See that AED? Usually it would take 48 hours to get one. It took 4 1/2 weeks.”
“We were waiting for everything,” DeFeo said. “But it came out really nice. We designed it to be homey and to be welcoming. We didn’t want a big, white, sterile environment.”
DeFeo and Siddiqui hired local contractors to renovate the facility and did much of the work themselves, along with family members.
“It’s a labor of love,” DeFeo said.
Cranmore Health Partners accepts most health insurance, including N.H. Medicaid, Mainecare, Harvard Pilgrim, Anthem Blue Cross and most other New England plans.
Cranmore Health Partners can be reached at (603) 730-5356 or by going to chpnh.com.