Maine Hospital Forms Rural Integrated Primary Care System to Attract Physicians and Broaden Access to Care

    • January 16, 2004

Blue Hill Memorial Hospital Foundation in Blue Hill, Maine developed its fledgling affiliated multi-site group practice, Peninsula Primary Care Association, for underserved residents of Hancock County.

The association established five rural health clinics, each at a former private practice site. It compensated doctors according to units of medical service rendered, and patients paid on a sliding fee basis.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans.

Key Results

  • During the planning grant period (1994–1995), the association launched an area health status inquiry and recruited four new family physicians.
  • It received federal rural health clinic status, increasing its Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement levels.
  • In 1996, under the implementation grant, it incorporated a community based mental health and substance abuse treatment agency into its organization.
  • By mid-1998, the end of the grant period, the project had grown to employ over 70 staff members, including 13 physicians and eight mid-level practitioners, though its financial stability remained in doubt.
  • In the year ending July 1998, the project recorded 46,275 patient visits.