A cooperative effort between TAMC and Northern Maine Medical Center will bring a familiar face back to Fort Kent, to the benefit of cardiac patients who use internal pacemakers and Automatic Internal Cardiac Defibrillators
Beginning on January 31, 2014, John Raymond, a physician’s assistant in cardiology, will hold Pacer Clinics in the upper level of NMMC’s Medical Office Building, located at 197 East Main Street in Fort Kent.
At the clinic, Raymond, a 25-year veteran in cardiology, will be able to review a record of a patient’s pacemaker function to make sure everything is working properly and make adjustments when necessary. After the initial clinic on January 31st, Raymond will be in Fort Kent once or twice a month to hold regular Pacer Clinics for those in the St. John Valley community who need this specialized service.
“Access to care at the Pacer Clinic means patients have the convenience of close to home service. This is a huge convenience for patients who are often elderly and hesitant to take to the icy winter roads of northern Maine,” said NMMC’s Director of Service Excellence and Communications Joanne Fortin. “Patients will recognize John’s name and be very thrilled that he is returning to care for them.”
Patients will recognize Raymond’s name because up until about three years ago, when restructuring at Northeast Cardiology and EMHS lead to the elimination of the service in Fort Kent, the Frenchville native held Pacer Clinics at NMMC periodically when he worked in cardiology in Bangor. When he began working for the cardiology department at TAMC in May of 2013, he saw it as an opportunity to give back to his community roots.
“For me, it’s like a homecoming. A renewed opportunity to help the people in the St. John Valley,” said Raymond. “It was very hard for me not to come up there anymore. I feel very happy that both NMMC and TAMC were able to work out this opportunity to have the clinic back in Fort Kent. The Valley has always had a very close place in my heart.”
Without the Pacer Clinic in Fort Kent, patients needing this service had to travel quite a distance, as far as Presque Isle or even Bangor for the routine evaluations. The service will be more than just a travel convenience for St. John Valley residents, however. Raymond’s Valley roots give him a keen understanding of the needs of the patients in the rural area, and he brings an important communication skill to the table in the French-speaking community because he is also bilingual. His ability to speak French fluently instills a high level of comfort and confidence in his patients.
“It makes a huge difference for our patients to be able to describe their activities and symptoms in French, which is the primary language for a majority of the patients in this clinic,” said Amy Levesque, office manager at NMMC’s Specialty Clinic.
Both NMMC and TAMC agreed that it was a good idea to renew the valuable service at NMMC.
“There was excitement from the administration and physicians in Fort Kent and support and willingness from TAMC to make it happen,” said Raymond. “The main thing is that people won’t have to travel as far to have their pacemakers checked.”
Individuals interested in the Pacer Clinic services can make an appointment by calling the NMMC Specialty Clinic at 834-1573.