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Fort Fairfield Health Community's
Health Advisory Committee Begins Work
Fort Fairfield Journal
December 12, 2012
FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine—A newly formed Fort Fairfield Community Health Advisory Committee recently met to hear about enhanced services offered at The Aroostook Medical Center’s (TAMC) Fort Fairfield Health Center (FFHC) and to discuss future plans to expand what is provided to residents.
TAMC President and CEO Sylvia Getman and several other TAMC officials joined the 13-member advisory council for their first meeting held in the town’s health center, housed in the former Community General Hospital building on High Street. Among the topics discussed was how best to utilize the 51,000 square foot building, of which TAMC currently utilizes 9,000 square feet to house the FFHC.
“TAMC is committed to providing services here in Fort Fairfield with a fully staffed health center. We are currently actively recruiting for another physician to join the team already in place and serving residents here in Fort Fairfield,” said Getman. “The members of the Fort Fairfield Community Health Advisory Committee will be especially helpful in guiding our efforts moving forward.”
Also joining in the meeting were FFHC providers Dr. Daniel Fowler and Family Nurse Practitioners Mary Coffin and Nadine Lamoreau, as well as Kerry Spooner, who manages the health center. The medical professionals and support staff at the health center work at the Fort Fairfield facility on a constant basis and have done so for a number of years.
In addition to Primary Care Services, FFHC offers integrated care management services as well as mental health services. Outpatient mental health services are offered weekly on site by Janelle Underwood-Charette, who provides individual counseling sessions. TAMC has also recently relocated its diabetes educator to Fort Fairfield to work collaboratively with Coffin, who is a diabetes expert.
TAMC officials and members of the community health advisory committee also talked about future plans to expand health center hours of service. Committee members advised TAMC get the word out about the scope of services they offer at the FFHC so that residents are better aware of what is offered.
Both care management and counseling services have been recent additions to the FFHC within the last year. Dr. Fowler spoke with the advisory committee about the pioneering work being done in Fort Fairfield to introduce the care management model.
The model is designed for healthcare organizations and providers to work in coordination with private payers by aligning provider incentives, which will improve quality and health outcomes, as well as cost savings.
Under the program, patients living with a chronic illness served by the FFHC have had a nurse help coordinate and monitor care between appointments, and many have seen an improvement in the quality of their daily life. In addition, patients have been encouraged and shown how to be more active participants in their health and healthcare.
“We have been working here in Fort Fairfield to truly build care around the individual. The major change has been the introduction and piloting of the care management model,” said Fowler. “I believe this is how we best provide healthcare to small communities and how we contribute to the betterment of this community.”
Other discussion at the meeting centered on the facility that currently houses the FFHC – the former Community General Hospital. TAMC currently occupies approximately one-fifth of building, the upper level of the section of the facility constructed in 1961. The lower level of that wing, as well as the original hospital building constructed in 1951, and an adjacent doctors’ office building constructed in 1971 remain vacant.
After some discussion, committee members and TAMC officials agreed the next logical step would be to sit down with Fort Fairfield community leaders to see what possible re-use could be collaboratively developed for the remainder of the facility. A meeting with the Fort Fairfield Town Council will be scheduled in the coming months to discuss how TAMC, the Fort Fairfield Community Health Advisory Committee, and town can work together on the building’s future.
Members of the Fort Fairfield Community Health Advisory Committee include Rayle Ainsworth, Stephanie Beaulieu, Scott Clark, Steve Clark, Donna Currie, Carolyn Dorsey, David Dorsey, Norman Grant, Kenneth Hensler, Betty Kent-Conant, Joe Lallande, Steve Poitras, and Peggy Strid.
TAMC officials and members of the Fort Fairfield Community Health Advisory Committee are asking community members to send along their thoughts about what healthcare services are needed in the community to help guide their future discussion on potential expansion of services in Fort Fairfield. Residents are encouraged to contact FFHC manager Kerry Spooner with their comments by calling 768-4753 or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Fort Fairfield Journal ©2012 David R. Deschesne, All Rights Reserved