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Memorial Hospital Primary Care Practice Receives Excellence in Pediatric Care Recognition

November 21, 2022

Media Contacts:

Carrie Burkett
603-356-5461 ext. 2264
Carrie.Burkett@MaineHealth.org

Tim Kershner
603-356-5461 ext. 2198
Timothy.Kershner@MaineHealth.org

NORTH CONWAY, NH — The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine has recognized Memorial Hospital for Excellence in Pediatric Care. The recognition honors MaineHealth primary care practices and providers for meeting high standards for pediatric care and achieving benchmarks for patient screenings, vaccinations and preventive care.

“Receiving this Excellence in Pediatric Care recognition is an honor,” says Dr. Craig Smith, Medical Director for Memorial Hospital’s Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Primary Care. “Our talented team is compassionate and attentive and they do an excellent job connecting with kids and their parents. Everyone has worked so hard toward these goals.”

The goals of the Excellence in Pediatric Care program are to identify, prevent and treat the innumerable factors that can effect a child’s health such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), food insecurity, optimal oral health, vaccines, healthy behaviors that prevent childhood obesity and early literacy. Memorial Hospital’s physicians and advanced practice providers see children regularly to address these issues and other health concerns at well-child visits.

Dr. Charlotte Helvie (left) and Dr. Kathryn Fekete (right) show off the Excellence in Pediatric Care plaque awarded to Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Primary Care at Memorial Hospital. (MEMORIAL HOSPITAL COURTESY PHOTO)

Dr. Smith credits Memorial pediatrician Dr. Charlotte Helvie for leading the process to earn the designation and thanked the entire practice for working together on the process to earn the designation. “This effort required a thorough review of our work flows and the input of all of our providers who see pediatric patients,” he said.

"I’m lucky to work with such an engaged team,” said Dr. Helvie “Our collaborative approach goes beyond just our primary care team. We collaborate with parents, local school districts, specialists and many community stakeholders. It takes a lot of coordination. Preventive health care in pediatrics is complex, but it is a worthwhile endeavor and has a huge impact.”

“We are fortunate to have family practice physicians and advance practice providers who offer expert care for kids so close to home,” says Art Mathisen, President of Memorial Hospital. “I’m really proud to have this recognition, but I’m not surprised. We have an incredible team. Our providers are highly skilled and efficient at identifying where their patients need more support.”

In reviewing the process to receive the Excellence in Pediatric Care designation, Dr. Helvie was able to build on the previous work of Dr. Wenda Saunders, a long-time advocate at Memorial for pediatric-centered preventive health goals. Dr. Saunders served the practice for many years and continues as a per-diem provider. Dr. Saunders had done work previously to meet several of the required standards.

“This is an incredible accomplishment,” applauds Saunders. “Memorial has such a great team who have been working for years to chip away at these goals. The big focus is figuring out how to create system-wide approaches that work for everyone in the team. With each goal, we fine tune the process and engage everyone in the conversation from admin to providers. Everyone is one hundred percent on board with the goals and they have a voice in the process. It has been so collaborative.”

Most primary care providers at Memorial Hospital’s Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Primary Care practice see children from newborns to adolescents for comprehensive pediatric care. These visits focus on tracking growth and developmental milestones, administering vaccinations and discussing concerns that come up with parents and caretakers. Memorial has also added two pediatricians – Dr. Charlotte Helvie and Dr. Kathryn Fekete – to provide additional primary and specialized care for younger patients. Dr. Helvie previously worked at a rural health system in California and led several community initiatives centered on children’s health. A New England native, Dr. Fekete has also worked on child health programs as a member of the U.S. military and as a medical service volunteer in the U.S. and abroad.

Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Primary Care is now accepting pediatric patients. For more information, please call 603-356-4939.

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About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Memorial Hospital is also home to The Merriman House nursing home, which provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. For more information, visit www.memorialhospitalnh.org  or call 603-356-5461.

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