Skip to main content

New Grant Funding Aims to Enhance Care for Patients in Rural Maine with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

May 30, 2017

The MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization and the Chronic Disease Program at the MaineHealth Center for Health Improvement are pleased to announce that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Quality Grants Program has awarded the ACO a one-year, $88,000 grant to build the capacity of primary care providers to diagnose and manage patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD refers to two long-term diseases that cause breathing problems, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It’s the third most common cause of death in the United States.

The project will create online learning modules on diagnosing and managing COPD in the primary care setting, develop a guideline for care and referral, and pilot the use of telehealth to give patients in a rural region access to specialty pulmonary services. Primary care providers from Western Maine Health in Norway and specialists from Chest Medicine Associates in South Portland have agreed to participate in the telehealth pilot.

“Building strong and lasting partnerships between primary and specialty care is central to the design of this project,” says Dr. Jeffrey Aalberg, the MaineHealth ACO’s chief medical officer. “We expect those partnerships to bring significant benefits to rural patients with COPD. Consults with specialists will be available to them locally using telehealth technology. And their primary care providers will learn the latest evidence-based protocols for treating COPD in the primary care setting.”

The development of every component of this project will involve both primary care providers and specialists. The MaineHealth Chronic Disease Program will provide day-to-day management with clinical, administrative and fiscal support from the MaineHealth ACO.

Media Contact:
Paul Santomenna
Senior Communications Manager
207-661-3806 |


News from Around MaineHealth

View All
SMHC Offering Free Mammograms for Women Without Insurance in October
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is offering free mammograms to women in the community age 40 or older without active breast problems who do not have insurance.
Drive-through Flu Shots Available at MaineHealth Care at Home
MaineHealth Care at Home (MHCAH) will be offering drive-through flu shots for all community members at their Saco location at 15 Industrial Park Rd.
Franklin Community Health Network offers flu clinics
Franklin Community Health Network is offering drive-up flu clinics in October for adults on the Franklin Memorial Hospital campus and via mobile outreach by the Healthy Community Coalition. No appointment is required.
Physicians Join Maine Medical Partners
Maine Medical Partners announces the following new hires.
Getting a Flu Shot has Never Been More Important
PBMC, WCGH and Belfast Public Health Nursing combine to offer 40 flu clinics.
SMHC Expands Spiritual and Pastoral Care Services and Welcomes Director, Chaplain Shelly Snow
Snow to oversee the expansion of spiritual and pastoral care services for SMHC’s patients, visitors, care team and community.
Memorial Hospital Reminds Parents to Check Children's Immunization Status
Dr. Wenda Saunders, a pediatrician at Memorial Hospital’s Mt. Washington Rural Health Care is encouraging families to get caught up with immunizations.
Maine Behavioral Healthcare Leverages Technology to Celebrate Local Heroes
Heroes with Heart to honor MaineWorks CEO Margo Walsh, Maine Medical Center staff, and Cumberland county citizen volunteers, Police/ Fire/Rescue.
Stephens Memorial Hospital Receives 5 Star Patient Experience Rating
Stephens Memorial Hospital was one of 266 hospitals, or 8 percent, in the nation who received a perfect five-star rating on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website.PBMC, WCGH and Belfast Public Health Nursing combine to offer 40 flu clinics.
Maine Behavioral Healthcare Selects New President
Kelly Barton, an experienced health care executive from Indianapolis, will lead behavioral health services for MaineHealth - northern New England’s largest integrated health system.