BREWER, Maine — The people who run the new 28,500-square-foot Brewer Medical Center, which held its grand opening Tuesday, say the new health care facility is the perfect combination of services needed by people in the area.
“We’re like one-stop shopping,” Barb Dunakin, practice manager, said just before the facility’s ribbon-cutting. “In one visit they can see a doctor, get an X-ray, go to the lab, they can fill their prescriptions, get physical therapy or mental health counseling under the same roof.”
The facility, which is on outer Wilson Street in the former Wilson Square Shopping Plaza, has 35 exam rooms and is operated by Bangor-based Penobscot Community Health Care.
The Rev. Bob Carlson, president of Penobscot Community Health Care, thanked the state’s congressional members, city staff, the architects and area groups for their support during the ribbon-cutting.
The health care center is open seven days a week, operates on a sliding pay scale based on income for those without insurance, and also features a walk-in clinic.
“Patients who don’t have a provider can walk in here and get one,” said Sue Brownell, clinical coordinator.
“With continuity of care they [doctors and staff] get to know you,” Dunakin said. When a person “bounces around from provider to provider — it’s like starting new every time.”
The clinic has 70 employees, opened June 29, and already has grown, said medical director Dr. Nancy O’Neill.
“In that time, we’ve brought in about 600 new patients” and the walk-in clinic has seen 640 patients, she said. “The physical therapist, in three or four weeks, has gone from part-time to full-time.
“We’re very pleased with the response from the community,” said O’Neill, who has more than 27 years of medical experience, 13 in Aroostook County.
The Brewer Community Clinic on South Main Street, Stillwater Family Medicine in Bangor and the geriatric specialty program once housed at PCHC’s Union Street campus in Bangor all moved to Brewer.
“We combined three offices,” said Norma Shaw, office coordinator, who began her career in 1990 at Med Now in Orono. “Basically, the only thing we don’t have is dental. We’re open seven days and week, and we offer excellent care.”
Penobscot Community Health Care’s Union Street campus offers dental services and recently expanded to meet the need of more patients.
The purpose of the clinic is to provide outpatient health care services to those with and without insurance, O’Neill said.
“It’s a wonderful place to work because people have access to comprehensive care,” O’Neill said. “The patients actually love it.”
So do staff members, Dunakin said.
“We love it here,” she said of her and her many co-workers.