Celebrating 20 Years of Access to Care

four women standing together outside Waldo County General Hospital

Members of the PBMC/WCGH Access to Care team, from left to right: Cindy Robbins, medical outreach case manager at WCGH; Melissa Moody, CarePartners program coordinator for PBMC and WCGH; Linda Weymouth, CarePartners case manager for WCGH, and Tina Rantala, CarePartners case manager for Knox County. Not pictured: Stephanie Lafrenaye, coverage case manager at PBMC.

This year, PBMC and WCGH celebrated 20 years of connecting our most vulnerable community members to free and low cost health care.

Created in 2001, the MaineHealth Access to Care team has helped more than 16,000 people in Knox and Waldo counties find affordable health insurance, free and low cost health care and medications, and access the basic necessities of life such as food, transportation, childcare and housing. The program is at the core of our vision of working together to make our communities the healthiest in America.

According to Linda Weymouth, a CarePartners case manager for Waldo County, one of the program’s most important benefits to patients is a reduction in anxiety about medical bills. By enrolling patients in MedAccess, which provides free or low cost medications to eligible patients, they often can help patients save thousands of dollars on critical and otherwise expensive prescriptions.

“That’s a life changer for a lot of people,” Weymouth said.

Tina Rantala, CarePartners case manager for Knox County, said in addition to helping people access health care through enrollment in CarePartners, she connects many patients to food and housing resources. She noted that many of her clients have been referred by friends or family members who have previously had a positive experience with the Access to Care team.

“It makes you feel good to know that you made that difference in someone’s life, that they trust you with their friends and family,” said Melissa Moody, CarePartners program coordinator for PBMC and WCGH.

“Our goal is to identify needs and get patients connected before things start to pile up,” said Cindy Robbins, medical outreach case manager at WCGH.

Moody added, “It feels good to support the people in the community that I live and work in. It’s really gratifying to know that we can help.”

Learn more about MaineHealth Access to Care.

Access to Dental Care

Access to Care is made up of six programs. Perhaps the most well-known program is CarePartners, a partnership between MaineHealth physicians and hospitals that offers free and affordable health care to uninsured and underinsured adults. Other programs help people apply for free and discounted medications.

In addition to connecting people to resources including CarePartners, the health insurance marketplace and the MedAccess program, the Waldo County Access to Care team focuses on Waldo County Dental Care, which provides preventative and restorative dental care to low-income, uninsured adults and children in Waldo County. Learn more about Waldo County Dental Care.