For Immediate Release
PORTLAND, ME, December 9, 2013 – A collaborative health program called CarePartners currently being used in four Maine counties will soon be expanded to York County to help underinsured or underserved adults gain access to quality health care and medication.
A three-year grant of $297,854 from the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) in Augusta was one of six Access to Quality Care grants the foundation recently awarded across the state to support and expand access to quality care for needy individuals. The CarePartners program, a partnership between MaineHealth, physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers, was recognized as a program that could serve as a model for healthcare organizations seeking to expand access to care for uninsured and underserved people in other communities around the state.
CarePartners currently provides low income and uninsured adults in Cumberland, Lincoln, Waldo and Kennebec counties with access to comprehensive medical care, care management and prescription drugs. CarePartners helps community members who don't qualify for public or private healthcare coverage programs to get comprehensive, medically necessary healthcare. The recipients may be too young for Medicare, earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, or earn too little to pay private insurance premiums. CarePartners relies on a volunteer network of over 1,100 healthcare providers – including 400 primary care doctors and 700 specialists --who provide patients with quality care regardless of ability to pay. Since the program was launched in 2001, participating doctors have donated more than $20 million in care to 9,500 enrollees. Participating hospitals have donated $47 million in inpatient, outpatient, and diagnostic services.
Another one of MaineHealth’s Access to Care programs, MedAccess, which has been housed on the Southern Maine Medical Center campus since 2009, helps people without adequate prescription coverage get free or low-cost medications. To date, more than 1,500 individuals in York County have been referred to MedAccess and more than $10.87 million in medications has been dispensed to individuals needing assistance.
“Even after health insurance reform, we believe the need for resources like CarePartners will continue,” stated Carol Zechman, Access to Care program director. “and York County is an area where we see a great need to expand our services.” Although the rollout of the new Federal Health Insurance Marketplace will meet the needs of some of the uninsured, explained Zechman, anticipated cuts in the MaineCare program as of January 1st will result in the loss of coverage for approximately 2,731 York county residents.
Ed McGeachey, president and CEO of Southern Maine Medical Center, explained that SMMC and Goodall Hospital -- soon to be Southern Maine Health Care -- offer access to primary care and specialty providers for people across York County, regardless of ability to pay. Still, many people do not establish a primary care relationship or do not seek the testing, treatments, or take their medications as prescribed by their physician either because they cannot afford to and do not know of other options, or because they have a difficult time managing appointments and medications.
“We are pleased to be collaborating with MaineHealth to bring the proven support network of CarePartners to the people of York County, and we are deeply grateful to the Maine Health Access Foundation in Augusta for backing the program expansion through their generous grant funding,” said McGeachey.”The result will be more York County people connecting with primary care physicians and clinics, and following their prescribed medications and treatments. Every patient that we can assist through CarePartners is more likely to be a healthier, happier patient who is less likely to be facing expensive emergency or hospitalization care down the road.”
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine and Martins Point Healthcare are longstanding partners of MaineHealth in the CarePartners program.
For more information about the CarePartners program, visit the website at: http://www.mainehealth.org/mh_body.cfm?id=3441 or call toll free 1-877 626 1684.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of healthcare providers and organizations working together to make its local communities the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Southern Maine Medical Center, Goodall Hospital, LincolnHealth, Maine Mental Health Partners, Pen Bay Healthcare, Waldo County Healthcare, Western Maine Health, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Health, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland.
About The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF)
MeHAF is Maine’s largest, private, nonprofit health care foundation dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improving the health of everyone in Maine. MeHAF uses its grant resources and expertise to identify and move forward key initiatives and issues to improve Maine’s health care system so people across every region of our state have access to quality care for better health. To learn more, visit MeHAF’s website at www.mehaf.org.