Personal Stories

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Robert Potter, patient at Sheepscot Valley Health Center

“I don't know what we would have done without a Connector's help”

"Ann [Schwab, HealthReach Connector] has been our advocate ever since our first appointment with her. Whether it's helping with paperwork or putting us in touch with all the right folks, she keeps us going in the right direction. Believe me, we wouldn't have made it very far without her!"

Lena Achey, patient at Bingham Area Health Center

“I love to come. I meet a lot of people here, and the fresh food is wonderful”

Lena Achey was a regular at the Food for All Farm Stand on the front lawn of Bingham Area Health Center. Lena came for the quality. Others came for the price. The cost of food was subsidized through support from the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets and Good Shepherd Food Bank. When asked what she liked best about the Food for All Farm Stand, Lena replied, “The main thing is the food, the good quality […] You know what it is and it ain’t gonna be [sitting] a week or two in the store. I can’t really tell you a favorite one because I love them all,” she said. “But if I had to choose a favorite one, it’s carrots…and squash and turnips and beets.”

Robert Clark, patient at Western Maine Family Health Center

“Normally I’m a junk food junky, but it’s like I told my roommate—it feels pretty good eating healthy for a change!”

Robert Clark of Livermore Falls used to call himself the “Pop-Tart King,” but when his health center invited him to a Cooking Matters workshop, Robert put down the Pop-Tarts, picked up a cook book, and joined eleven other participants at Spruce Mountain Adult Education in Livermore Falls. Cooking Matters is a free, six-week course that seeks to inspire families to buy and cook healthy food. Robert, who is the primary cook in his household, was thoroughly inspired to change his outlook on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to prepare food in a healthy way.

Bradley Lessard, patient at Bethel Family Health Center

“I like Ms. Bouchard a lot. She is wicked nice and wicked fun! I didn't expect that.”

Our Bethel Dental Hygiene Services program is available for everyone up to age 20 and is facilitated by Sharon Bouchard, IPDH.

Fourteen year old Bradley Lessard came in for the first time with his mother Alyson. Bradley shared that his sister is scared of dental checkups, but he will tell her that it will be fun to come in and see Ms. Bouchard.

Cayla Heath, patient at Bethel Family Health Center

“Box breathing is awesome; I can use the technique anywhere!”

Recently, DeAnna became concerned because her daughter Cayla was showing increasing signs of anxiety. Deanna set an appointment for Cayla with Leslie Lufkin, LCSW, Behavioral Health Consultant at Bethel Family Health Center.

“My concern was that we would get the typical treatment of ‘here are some pills for your daughter’,” said DeAnna. “There was never any mention of medicating Cayla. Instead Leslie was understanding and wanted to work with us. Leslie also isn’t pushy. She would make a suggestion, and if Cayla wasn’t comfortable with it, Leslie would switch tracks and say ‘let’s try something else’.”

One method Leslie provided Cayla with was box breathing. Leslie would ask Cayla to focus on a square or rectangular object within her environment, such as a window frame. Cayla would then look upon the outline of the window frame and follow each side with her eyes while focusing upon her breathing: inhale four seconds along the top side, hold the breath four seconds down the right side, exhale four seconds along the bottom side, hold the breath four seconds up the left side and repeat.

“Cayla is doing great,” shared DeAnna. Leslie was a pro at listening and helping her.”

Janine M. Collins, patient at Sheepscot Valley Health Center

"I would not ever think of changing doctors"

I see Dr. Wistar. She is the best doctor I have ever seen. She listens and seems to actually care about what is going on with me.

No matter how complex a medical problem is, she will try to get me the best care possible. I have been seeing her since at least 2004 for everything. I would not ever think of changing doctors and dread the day she retires!

Thank you Dr. Wistar for everything. You are awesome.

Robin Alice Farrar, patient at Western Maine Family Health Center

"He never gives up."

I have been a patient at Western Maine Family Health Center in Livermore Falls since I was 10 years old. I am now 34. My doctor during this time has been Dr. Craig Lewis. When I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

I was lucky enough to have the benign tumor removed, but unlucky when it came to the permanent damage of my pituitary gland. Dr. Lewis and his staff have spent more than the last decade working with me to ensure I have the best quality of life I can with my particular situation. Any time I am having something physically wrong within me and the cause is not common and easy to figure out, Dr. Lewis will take as much time as needed to sit down with me and brainstorm together until we start figuring out some potential solutions. He never gives up.

The nurses are prompt, friendly, and very much part of a functioning team working closely with not only the doctor, but also the patients. Absolutely everyone - the receptionist, billing, and all other staff have not only a knack for making patients feel at ease and taken care of, they manage to do it while still conducting themselves as true professionals.

Thomas Bangs, patient at Belgrade Regional Health Center

"My doctor is on my side."

Thomas came to Belgrade Regional Health Center two years ago after feeling like he was getting nowhere with his last doctor.

"I am so happy I came to this health center. Everyone here is wonderful, and they work efficiently together. If it weren't for Amy [Madden, MD], I wouldn't be here. She has made my life worthwhile again!"

Thomas has tackled his diabetes with Dr. Madden and has lost 100 pounds so far.

"My numbers keep getting better every time I come in," says Thomas. "I just feel that [Amy] is on my side, and I trust her decisions. I guess that ultimately means she has my respect."

Thomas enjoys the quality of care he receives at Belgrade so much that his wife and son have since become patients as well!

Raymond Coffer, Jr., patient at Strong Area Health and Dental Center

Raymond Coffer, Jr. has not had health insurance in eight years. He heard about the Health Insurance Marketplace and thought he would ask Crystal Fitch, HealthReach Connector about it because he knew that, she would have some idea of what to do.

As a HealthReach Connector, Crystal Fitch helps link patients to programs that help pay for medical care, lab fees and medications, and much more. Raymond has met with Crystal several times over the eight years he was without health insurance.

Crystal recently met with Raymond at Strong Area Health Center and worked through the Marketplace enrollment process. As a result, he was very pleased with the plan he purchased on the marketplace, and looks forward to having health insurance coverage once again.

"I wasn't even sure if I wanted to sign up. I thought it was going to be a waste of time. Looking back, if I had done it at home by myself, I would have given up. If it wasn't for Crystal, I never would have tried."

Raymond is a long-time patient of Strong Area Health Center. "I've been going there since they opened the doors in 1986." As a resident in rural Maine, not having to travel 30 minutes or more to access quality health care services has been a great convenience through the years. "[I live] only 10 miles from the Health Center. It doesn't get much better than that!"

Aside from the fact that the Center is close to home, Raymond appreciates many things about the full range of services and the medical team at Strong Area Health Center.

"My experience at the Center is that the people there are easy-going. You can get appointments quickly, and when you get there they are ready for you. Everybody is very friendly and professional. I recommend the Health Center to people. If I know someone who has a hard time paying for their medicine, I tell them to call Crystal!"

Gayle Stratton, patient at Belgrade Regional Health Center

A little more than two years ago, Gayle Stratton moved back to Belgrade Lakes. One particular day, she was suddenly short of breath and felt a burning pressure in her chest, so she drove down the street to Belgrade Regional Health Center.

She told the person at the front desk that something was not right. Without hesitation, the staff took her in and attended to her. She was having a serious heart attack.

"Everyone was wonderful. My doctor stood with me and held my hand the whole time as they did tests and examined me. They saved my life, I think."

Gayle Stratton has been an on-again, off-again patient at Belgrade Regional Health Center for thirty years. During that time, she has moved from the Belgrade area, moved back, and seen the Health Center move from the village to its much improved current location at 4 Clement Way, Belgrade.

Since that frightening day two years ago, Gayle's overall wellbeing has improved greatly. She joined the Healthy Gains program at the Health Center, where she attends meetings, keeps a chart of her weight and blood pressure, meets with a nutritionist, and takes part in hands-on healthy cooking sessions.

"I was very excited when they started Healthy Gains. I quit smoking since my heart attack, but gained 65 pounds. I started having trouble walking and had a lot of back pain. Now, I walk 30 minutes every day, I eat healthier food and feel so much better."

The Health Center's approach to preventive care is a partnership with the patient, where mind and body needs are treated under one roof. Gayle has taken many positive steps with this approach.

"You go other places and you feel like a number. At this Health Center, you're someone special. I was not healthy. Being sick causes stress and everything added up to why I had my attack. Here, I had people who listen to you, look at the whole picture."

"We're not rich at all, and it helps that it doesn't take much gas or time to get to the Health Center," said Gayle. "My doctor got me in contact with Crystal Fitch, a HealthReach Connector. Crystal met with me and quickly learned what I needed. She enrolled me in the HealthReach Affordable Care program, and saved my family money with our health bills."

Gayle often recommends friends and family to Belgrade Regional Health Center.

"I'm just so amazed by them. I'm so glad I came back, and not just for the affordable care. They help you with everything. They helped me with my finances, my heart and weight, and I had someone to talk to about my depression. I see everything they do for the community and the way they treat people. They make you feel welcome. They're my family."

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