Penobscot Community Health Care’s new clinic is open for business in Bangor.
The former home of Penobscot Pediatrics, the adult wellness center at 1068 Union St. opened April 13 and is booking appointments for new patients, including those who need chronic illness management and regular checkups. Serving only those who are age 18 or older, the practice offers telehealth options for those who are sheltering at home, Lori Dwyer, the organization’s CEO, said.
The opening comes after the organization, which has primary care, medical specialty and walk-in centers in Waldo, Penobscot and Somerset counties, furloughed 75 of its approximately 800 employees early last month as part of postponing appointments to limit patient and staff exposure to COVID-19. PCHC also opened a new pediatric center on the second floor of the former Verizon Wireless call center at 6 Telcom Drive, just off Union Street, last November.
“We felt the time was right to open this practice. The 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,” Dwyer said in a statement released Monday.
To limit the spread of coronavirus, anyone entering the facility will be screened for flu-like symptoms, which includes taking temperatures. Those who display symptoms will be told to return to their vehicles for assessment by center staff. Those found to require further treatment will be directed to other clinics in the health care system. All other patients will be placed in rooms immediately at the new facility to prevent potential exposure to the illness. All patients and staff must wear and will be provided masks.
Dr. Jeffery Bowers, a family physician with more than 30 years of experience, relocated to Maine from Ohio and leads the new center as its medical director. Beverly Yercheck, an adult nurse practitioner with rural healthcare experience, relocated from Idaho and has extensive experience in family medicine.
The Adult Wellness Center is the first practice in the organization’s history to start from the ground up as a PCHC clinic, rather than an existing practice. The center is an adult-only practice for patients age 18 and older.
The center hopes to add mental health, osteopathic, social work, nursing and targeted legal aid services plus two additional primary care providers over the next year.