New family health center opens Jan. 8

Walk-in and on-call family practice offered seven days a week
Posted:  Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 2:30pm

On Jan. 8, a new walk-in family practice will open its doors when the Boothbay Region Health Center starts providing services for patients in the Meadow Mall in Boothbay Harbor.

The center will offer a team of physicians, health coordinators, a wellness program and nutrition counseling in addition to behavioral health coaching and support groups. Free on-call transportation for patients to and from the center will also be available.

Dr. Nancy Oliphant’s medical practice will become part of the new integrated primary Health Center. In an interview with the Boothbay Register, Oliphant  said, “I want to be a doctor. I went to medical school, not Medicare school. This center will let me be that and someone else can take care of the paperwork and the bureaucracy.”

The new center was formed under Boothbay Region Health Care, Inc. and will offer three family practice doctors: Oliphant,  Dr. Alan (Chip) Teel, M.D., and Dr. Patricia Phillips, D.O.

Teel is also looking forward to the new family practice. “My family has been in the area for several generations, so I’m looking forward to complementing the work of Boothbay Region Health Care,” he said. Teel brings 30 years of experience in general medical practice and will focus on geriatrics and telemedicine.

Phillips is a board-certified family physician who is also in the nutrition certification program at Tulane University. She has seen the effects of nutrition on diseases like arthritis, hypertension and dementia. “There are foods that heal and foods that destroy our health,” she explained. 

Two nurse practitioners, Rebecca Traquair and Susan Lord, and two health coordinators will also assist patients. Mary Baudo, certified wellness coach, will provide the Fit, Flexible and Strong program.

Walk-in and appointment family practice services are available between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Patients will also be seen one evening each week (to be determined) until 8:30 p.m.

Access to a family doctor will be available 24 hours a day, seven days each week by phone even if the caller is not currently a patient.

If the patient has a doctor at another practice, the center will ensure that the record of the visit is shared with that doctor.

The center’s goal, “Providing easier access to affordable care” will mean that “People who don’t have health insurance are served,” explained Patty Seybold, president of the board of directors of the parent organization.

To accomplish this, the principals behind the center have done their homework.

In 2013, they started to meet with executives and staff at many of Maine’s community hospitals, asking what kinds of health services were needed in areas that were isolated and had a significant elderly population. They were told to focus on programs that would prevent people from needing to enter a hospital.

Eventually, that research and planning became the Health Center. But getting to the Jan. 8 opening has involved a lot of hard work behind the scenes. 

Significant time has been needed to make sure the doctors and nurse practitioners are credentialed with each insurer under the new practice. More than a dozen insurers were involved, including Medicare, Maine Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Martin’s Point and others. The credentialing took more than six months and an expert specialized in the process.

The center has a principle of “Medicare for all pricing,” which means patients of all ages will be charged the lowest possible amount permitted by law for the services they receive. 

Patients who cannot afford to pay will be able to barter services in return. Family members will also be able to barter services on behalf of patients.

The center is funded for three years of operation, according to Seybold, but annual fundraising efforts will take place. She envisions a medical mall in two to three years, complete with radiology and laboratory services for patients.

Providing the direction for Boothbay Region Health Care, Inc. is a board of directors that consists primarily of its patients. The center’s physicians and staff are not eligible to serve on the board.

Although the organization will “Expand as we need,” Seybold said the practice will “stay independent and small with community support.”

A public open house for the new practice is planned for Jan. 21.