A Bangor-area healthcare system will open the doors of its new, expanded pediatric center next week, growing the number of patients it can treat from about 10,000 to 12,000 and allowing it to provide children with a more comprehensive set of medical services.
Penobscot Community Health Care has built its new pediatric center on the second floor of the former Verizon Wireless call center at 6 Telcom Drive in Bangor, which is just off Union Street.
While the organization’s current pediatric center on Union Street has 23 exam rooms, the new one will have 30, according to Dan Cashman, a spokesman for the organization. Besides increasing the overall number of patients it can serve, the extra space will also allow Penobscot Community Health Care to hire between two and four new mental health providers.
The organization is also developing the first floor of the building to offer speech therapy, audiology and mental health services that will be available to the pediatric patients. The first floor is expected to be completed this winter.
Lori Dwyer, Penobscot Community Health Care’s president and CEO, said the new facility will help the organization address the growing need among the region’s children for mental health and nutritional services. She pointed to a recent health assessment that found growing rates of anxiety and depression among high school students in Penobscot County. It also identified Penobscot County kids as having greater food insecurity and less access to fruits and vegetables than the state average.
“That is what community health centers are all about – responding to the needs of their community,” Dwyer said. “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.”
The new space will have the same hours as the current pediatric center and continue to offer walk-in care every day of the week. The organization is continuing a $1 million fundraising campaign to outfit the space.