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Excellence in Pediatric Care Program

Recognizing High-Quality Pediatric Primary Care Across the MaineHealth System

MaineHealth is proud to deliver world-class pediatric inpatient care at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. We also deliver exceptional pediatric primary care at practices across Maine and New Hampshire.

The Best of the Best

The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital Excellence in Pediatric Care program honors MaineHealth primary care practices that provide amazing pediatric care while meeting important Clinical Care and Child Health Program goals:  

Clinical Care Goals: Practices need to meet all three targets for clinical care:

  • Patients receive all of their recommended well child visits each year.
    • From birth to 15 months, this is at least 6 well child visits each year.
    • From 2-20 years old, this is at least 1 well child visit each year.
  • Patients are screened every year to help identify and prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma in childhood.
  • Babies and toddlers receive their full series of vaccines (shots) before their 2nd birthday.

Child Health Program Goals: Practices need to be actively involved with all six MaineHealth Child Health Programs. Each program provides evidence-based trainings, materials, and support for their area of focus. Practices that work with these programs are able to provide services such as:

  • Health screenings
  • Emergency food bags
  • Free and age-appropriate books
  • Healthy behavior messaging (healthy eating, exercise, good dental care, etc.)
  • Referrals to other programs focused on supporting pediatric patients and their families

MaineHealth Child Health Programs

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)—such as exposure to violence, abuse or neglect, parental substance abuse, or parent mental illness—impact a child’s developing brain and can affect long-term health.

ACEs are common, with one in four children in Maine experiencing two or more. The MaineHealth ACEs program aims to prevent, identify and treat adverse childhood experiences by providing education, screening, treatment support, and resiliency-building skills to health care teams so they can help caregivers and affected children recover, heal and thrive after traumatic experiences.

Learn more about ACEs.

The MaineHealth Food Insecurity program aims to increase knowledge of food insecurity among primary care teams through training and education. The program’s goal is to increase the number of patients screened for food insecurity within primary care settings and increase the number of resources and amount of healthy food distributed to patients and families in need.

Learn more about MaineHealth food insecurity programs and partnerships.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity is not having access to enough food for a healthy, active life. According to the USDA, Maine has the 9th highest rate of food insecurity and the 6th highest rate of hunger in the United States.

Purpose and Goals:

One in five children in Maine has food insecurity (USDA, 2017) and 16% of Maine households (200,000 people) are food insecure (Feeding America, 2017). Hunger and health are closely connected. Research shows that food insecurity can lead to chronic illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, cancer, and depression.

Our goals are to:

1. Make our primary care teams more aware of food insecurity.
2. Increase the number of patients screened for food insecurity at their primary care provider’s office.
3. Provide healthy food and resources to patients and families in need.

Screening and Resources:

In pediatric practices, patients are asked two screening questions about food insecurity during their Well Child Visits. If a family is identified as food insecure, they can be connected to federal nutrition programs or referred to community resources and services. Through a partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank, some practices can also give families a bag of healthy food. The bags consist of dry goods that can be offered to patients during their visit for short term help. Fresh produce is also available in some locations.

Frequently Asked Questions:

 Why is screening for food insecurity important?

A study by Children’s HealthWatch found that children younger than 3 years who live in food-insecure households have a higher chance of:

  • Being in fair or poor health
  • Being hospitalized
  • Not developing or growing properly

Hunger is often well hidden. By asking each patient about their situation at home in the primary care setting, children and families that need help can be identified and provided with resources.

What is included in the emergency food bags?

The Nutritionists at Good Shepherd Food Bank have created a healthy, low sodium and shelf-stable menu of apple sauce, brown rice, rolled oats, shelf-stable milk, canned chicken/tuna, peanut butter, canned vegetables, and soups. This food is meant to last 2-3 days while patients connect with longer term food access resources.

Questions? Please contact Gina McKenney at gmckenney@mainehealth.org.

 

From the First Tooth is a pediatric oral health initiative that promotes the oral health of infants, toddlers and preschool children. The program works with parents, doctors and dentists to help protect your child's teeth by implementing evidence-based preventive oral health approaches in the medical home. Learn more about this program at MaineHealth.

 

 

The MaineHealth Childhood Immunization program supports a variety of clinical, community and policy actions to help increase childhood immunizations throughout the MaineHealth service area. The program works with MaineHealth primary care offices to ensure infants, children, and teens get their vaccines on time. Because, vaccines given are the safest and best way to protect your children against 16 preventable diseases.

Learn more about the importance of childhood immunizations.


Let’s Go! is a childhood obesity prevention program found across Maine and in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire. The program uses evidence-based strategies to increase healthy eating and physical activity among children from birth to 18. Let’s Go! partners with health care practices to promote the 5-2-1-0 message and reinforce the healthy habits children are learning in early care and education programs, schools and out-of-school programs.

 

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Raising Readers is a one-of-a-kind, statewide early literacy program that gives books--free of charge--to all children up to five years old who are born in Maine and receive well-child care within Maine’s healthcare system. The program is made possible through a collaboration with MaineHealth and Northern Light Health and through continued funding from the Libra Foundation. Through the simple act of giving children books, Raising Readers stresses the powerful message that literacy begins well before children enter kindergarten and supports the well-documented link between health and literacy.



The following practices have met the BBCH Excellence in Pediatric Care program goals for 2020.

We honor and thank them for the excellent care that they provide to MaineHealth pediatric patients.