(Bangor, ME) – Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) announced today the opening of its Adult Wellness Center. The newest PCHC clinic is located at 1068 Union Street, the former home of Penobscot Pediatrics.
Planning for the new practice has been several years in the making. According to Lori Dwyer, PCHC’s Chief Executive Officer, the organization has long recognized the need for an adult focused wellness center in the community.
“This new practice offers adults an intimate practice setting, focused on the unique wellness, prevention and healthcare needs that arise as part of the aging process,” said Dwyer. “We felt the time was right to open this practiceThe Coronavirus is top of mind right now, and it should be. But there are plenty of additional health concerns that have nothing to do with COVID-19 and those should not be ignored. Our care team is here and ready to offer a whole spectrum of primary care services for adults, in a smaller clinical setting designed to meet their healthcare needs through an integrated care approach.”
The practice is already booking appointments to establish new patient care, for management of chronic illness, and for wellness visits. The practice offers telehealth options for those who prefer accessing care via video or those who should shelter at home based on public health guidance. Providers at the Adult Wellness Center will not be seeing patients with flu-like symptoms at this time, but will be able to provide direction and assistance for those patients on how to access care at other sites within PCHC.
As at all PCHC locations, all individuals are screened for flu-like symptoms before entering the Wellness Center, which includes taking temperatures. Those presenting with symptoms are not permitted to enter the practice and instead are asked to call a triage nurse for further assessment and instruction. Patients and staff are required to wear a surgical mask throughout the visit, and patients are roomed immediately to prevent potential exposure to other patients. Rigid cleaning protocols are also in place, to contain exposure to COVID-19 and any other infectious disease.
Taking over the former Pediatric space and starting a new practice required renovations to the existing building and hiring several new providers. PCHC also offered current staff the option to specialize in adult care.
Dr. Jeffery Bowers, a family physician with more than 30 years of experience, relocated to Maine from Ohio and leads the practice as the medical director. Beverly Yercheck, an Adult Nurse practitioner with rural healthcare experience, relocated from Idaho and brings to PCHC her extensive experience in family medicine. Kelly (Pelc) Turner, FNP, will transition from PCHC’s Walk-in-Care service to the Adult Wellness Center in May, along with James Riley, DO and Kenneth Nadeau, PA-C to provide their specialty services.
Summing up a message to patients of the Adult Wellness Center, Dr. Bowers said, “Strong primary care support can help patients avoid hospitalization. It can help maximize health, and improve the life we are given, regardless of the health problems that arise.”
The Adult Wellness Center is the first practice in the organization’s history to be started from the ground up as a PCHC clinic, rather than assuming an existing practice. The center is an adult-only practice treating patients ages 18 and over.
Shelley Snow, Wellness Center Executive Director overseeing the practice, shared that future plans for the practice include a new Mental Health Access Center; Family Nurse Practitioner resident rotations, additional wrap-around supports and services, such as Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy (O), social work, nursing, and targeted legal aid, and the recruitment of two additional primary care providers by 2021.
PCHC has used integrated, team-based approaches to health care and health education tolead local efforts to expand access to everyone, which Snow said will continue to be the focus at the Adult Wellness Center.
“The organization as a whole embraces a team-based approach to care where professionals from many different disciplines work together to treat the whole person – and that approach is embodied at the Adult Wellness Center,” said Snow. “PCHC offers everything from primary, pediatric and medical specialty services to counseling and psychiatric services to homeless health care. Adding adult-focused wellness services is a piece of the puzzle that makes a lot of sense for this community.”
The building has fresh paint, new carpet, updated check in and check out stations, a procedure room, and the providers are standing by to assist, face-to-face via telehealth, or in the office for well visits. “Even though things feel far from normal right now, the Adult Wellness Center is here for this community, and accepting new patients,” said Snow. “We are excited to expand access and watch the growth of our newest practice.”
The Adult Wellness Center officially opened on April 13 and can be reached at 207.404.8100, and through Facebook. More information about PCHC and the Adult Wellness Center can be found at www.pchc.com.