BANGOR – Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is celebrating the official opening of its new home for Penobscot Pediatrics. The new facility is located at 6 Telecom Drive in Bangor, space most recently occupied by the former Verizon call center. Penobscot Pediatrics’ new location will open its doors to patients on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 a.m. with more space, which means more access and more services for the community.
“This project is an inspiring example of collaboration,” said Lori Dwyer, president and CEO of Penobscot Community Health Care We have had the great privilege to work with a group of committed, local contractors, led by our general contractor Dunbar & Brawn, community stakeholders, inspired staff, our dedicated and wonderful landlord, Skyvilla Properties, and many other friends of PCHC—all people who care about PCHC’s mission and improving access to integrated primary care for kids. This was a team effort and everyone should be proud of the result.”
Penobscot Pediatrics currently has about 10,000 pediatric patients that account for about 32,000 visits each year to its primary care and mental health providers, as well as its walk-in care providers. PCHC operates the only pediatric walk-in care in the area, open 7 days/week. The new facility will allow for additional growth, including and especially for an additional 2-4 mental health providers . PCHC expects patient numbers to increase by about 20% in this expanded facility.
Penobscot Pediatrics is located on the second floor of the building, and has 30 exam rooms, up from 21 exam rooms at the former center. The first floor of the new space when finished will include speech therapy, audiology services, and mental health services. The building also features an external mural created by Maine artists David Hurley and Peter Walls, in keeping with the building’s theme of “woods and waters.” Penobscot Pediatrics is opening on the second floor this Monday, Nov. 4, and PCHC officials expect all of the offerings on the first floor of the building to be fully operational later this winter.
The 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) shows that nearly 20% of children in Penobscot County live in poverty and nearly 17% of middle and high school students in Penobscot County are obese. According to the report, the percentage of high school students who reported having five or more fruits and vegetables a day (11.1%) was significantly lower than the state (15.6%), while the percentage of food insecurity continues to be higher in Penobscot County (16.2%) than the state average (15.1%). The report also states that between 2011 and 2017, the percentage of high school students who reported that they had been sad/hopeless for more than two weeks in a row increased from 22.5% to 28.3%. Each year, 30 Maine children die by suicide, which is higher than the national average, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among kids aged 10-24.
“We’ve seen the research, but our providers have seen the struggles firsthand, and we as parents have seen it too – our children are more anxious, more depressed, more sedentary, and less interactive than they were a decade ago,” said Dwyer. “We see kids in despair, hungry, and without basic needs being met at rates that are simply alarming. It is our responsibility to ensure these kids are heard, and their needs are being met so they have the same chance to succeed as everyone else.”
“That is what community health centers are all about – responding to the needs of their community,” continued Dwyer. “This new space will allow us to do just that meet the growing need for primary care and mental health services, and help our kids and families navigate all the normal and extraordinary challenges of growing up.”
Dwyer adds, “Great care was taken to ensure we created a beautiful space. We hope to inspire patients, staff and visitors with Maine’s local beauty, artwork, and uplifting aesthetics. We want to send a message to everyone walking through our doors that they are awesome, we care, and they are worthy of this dignified space.”
The new space is going to maintain the existing hours for Penobscot Pediatrics: Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Walk-In Care is open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fundraising for the new facility continues to take place with a goal of raising $1 million for the fitout in the new space. More details about the fundraising campaign and online donations are available at www.pchckids.com.
About Penobscot Community Health Care
Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) provides comprehensive, integrated primary health care services for all to improve the health and wellbeing of its patients and the Maine communities it serves. Established and incorporated in 1997, PCHC envisions a community in which everyone has access to quality, cost effective health care. With more than a dozen locations offering a variety of services from Jackman to Belfast, PCHC strives to provide quality, patient-centered care for all. Online at www.pchc.com.