Alison Fernald, RD, LD, CDE, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (L), and Carol Freshley, RN, CDE, Nurse Educator and Certified Diabetes Educator (R), lead the new Mid Coast Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology's education services. The new Center opened on August 13.by Elisa Hawkes
Coastal Journal staff
BRUNSWICK — Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick launched a new Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology on Monday, August 13, to provide medical services for adults living with diabetes. The center focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, assisting individuals in assuming a more active role in managing their disease.
The Mid Coast Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology (MCCDE) is located at 81 Medical Center Drive, Suite 2200 in Brunswick, just up the street from the hospital, says Steven Trockman, Director of Community Relations and Outreach for Mid Coast Health Services (MCHS).
The center offers a full range of services designed to manage Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes, as well as other glandular disorders. A team of board certified physician endocrinologists, a nurse practitioner, and certified diabetes and nutrition educators, staff the facility. Trockman said this enables patients to receive all of their diabetes related care in one location, making co-ordination of health care services less complicated and stressful. As Trockman said, “It is one place to go and one appointment to keep.”
According to Trockman, this system cuts down on duplication of efforts through multiple appointments for similar issues. It reduces healthcare costs and saves time for the patient.
Dr. Scott Mills, vice president of Medical Administration/Chief Medical officer at Mid Coast Hospital, said the process of starting the center began almost two years ago.
Mills said, “The idea [to open the Center] emerged when our organization recognized the synergy between three issues that presented themselves to us: (a) the mission of our organization, to provide the most appropriate healthcare services to our community, close to home; (b) our 2020 Vision, with a focus on prevention services for chronic medical conditions that will help our community stay well; and (c) the concerns of our patients and primary care providers that patients with diabetes are growing in numbers and complexity.”
Trockman said the principles upon which the center is based fit into Mid Coast Health Services’ 2020 Vision, their roadmap for delivering accessible, cost-effective, regional healthcare throughout the coming decade, according to the organization’s website.
“The center exhibits at least two of the principles at the heart of the 2020 Vision,” said Trockman. “First, it is an organization that is easy to access and navigate, and uses a team approach to managing the quality and cost of healthcare across all settings. Secondly, the center will continuously measure and improve everything it does to achieve superior outcomes, and be held accountable for those outcomes.”
According to Mills, the road to making the MCCDE a reality involved a great deal of planning and organization.
“First we looked at other models for providing this care within Maine and beyond, including site visits,” Mills said. “We then analyzed how and with whom we would need to partner to provide a sustainable, high quality local service. Next, we met with a variety of potential collaborators within our community and in other regions of the state to put the clinical and administrative model together. We then engaged our boards and medical group leadership team to form all of the necessary components to pull this off, such as space, contracting with medical providers, hiring staff, communications, etc.”
The practice is using existing office space available at the Cook’s Corner campus to provide multiple exam rooms, consulting spaces, provider offices, a reception area, and waiting room space.
MCCDE Practice Administrator Jana Purrell said, “We have incurred the normal operating costs of a start-up practice, including hiring of new staff. Approximately three new positions were added, transitioning several staff members from other hospital departments, purchasing equipment and supplies, and electronic medical record implementation...This office has the same physician fee schedule in use as our other medical group physician practices and we accept and bill all insurances.”
It is estimated by MCHS that over 100,000 Maine adults live with diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many complications such as kidney failure, lower extremity amputations, blindness, cardiovascular disease, and death, if not properly treated. Through education and regular medical care, these severe risks are greatly reduced. Quality of life improves, and along with a decrease in complications, comes a decrease in healthcare costs.
The education component of the clinic offers instruction about diabetes, nutrition counseling, insulin pump training, glucose monitoring, and more. The education program at the Center is recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
To participate in the program, a patient must receive a referral from his or her primary care physician. Newly diagnosed individuals, to those diagnosed with diabetes for many years, can be referred to the Center. People who need help managing their blood sugars, are new to insulin, or have been taking insulin for a while can receive training at Center.
MCCDE Practice Manager Nicole Cohen said, “There is no limit to the number of patients the Center can serve. The Mid Coast Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology is open to all adult patients. After the Center receives a referral from a person's primary care doctor, they will be seen by the team in a timely manner.”
Trockman said regular services began on Aug. 13, but an open house will occur sometime in the fall. For more information about the center, visit www.midcoasthealth.com/endocrinology, or call 406-7290.