New doctor joins health center

By Angela Peacock

Being in a position to provide affordable health care for people of all economic status is what Mudassir Saleemi, family practice medical doctor, said he enjoys most about his new job with the Quay County Health Care Center.
“You get paid handsomely with this job, but the best part is that there are a lot of lesser-privileged people you can help. There is a lot of job satisfaction in this field,” said Saleemi, who recently signed a three-year contract with the clinic.
Saleemi was welcomed to Tucumcari Thursday afternoon at the same time Larrie Mason, family practice medical doctor, was honored for his work in the community during a ceremony for Mason’s retirement after 57 years of medical practice. Mason has acted as the primary doctor at Quay County Health Care Center since it first opened last year.
“Our overall goal at the clinic is to give people of all incomes good medical care at a reasonable price,” Mason said.
Before the Quay County Health Care Center was established, there were only six doctors available to provide family practice care for area residents, and since then two of those doctors have left town, officials said.
Mason said before he returns to his home in Albuquerque he wants everyone to be aware of the center, the services they provide and to have adequate information about payment plans.
“I’ve been here for 14 months and we still get patients that come in and say ‘I didn’t even know you guys were here,’ ” Mason said. “Since we work on a sliding scale (income payment system) anyone can come in get medical attention and then with proof of their income determine how much they’ll have to pay or not pay.”
Health Care Center nurse Mary Crocker is excited that Saleemi has signed a contract with the clinic because she believes it gives patience a sense of security that their primary care physician won’t be changing every few months because their doctor decides to relocate. Over the last year the center has met many of its goals to provide family planning, child immunization and various other services to the community, which Crocker said only leaves one more major goal to be accomplished.
“I want the center to become a more established medical facility in town for people to use. I want to get the word out that we’re here,” Crocker said.