• The Stephens Memorial Hospital and Western Maine Health boards of trustees have announced plans  to build a new medical office building on their property located on Pikes Hill Road in Norway and to undertake renovations to the Ripley Medical Office Building, located on the Stephens Memorial Hospital Campus, according to a press release.

    The estimated cost of the project is $10 million; $8.2 million for the new medical office building and $1.8 million for the renovations.  David Preble, Western Maine Health Board Chair, noted that the decision to proceed with the project came after a lengthy review and analysis.  The work focused on how best to meet the community’s healthcare needs in a time of rapidly changing trends in healthcare delivery.  “The shift of providing care in an outpatient setting rather than in a hospital continues to accelerate and this project will allow us to better meet this requirement.”

    The proposed medical office building will be approximately 25,500 square feet and upon completion is expected to accommodate Oxford Hills Internal Medicine and the merged primary care practices of Western Maine Family Practice and Oxford Hills Family Practice.  Renovations to the Ripley Medical Office Building will begin following the completion of the new construction and will enable Western Maine Pediatrics, currently located in a crowded office suite, to move into a more spacious and efficient one.

    The new construction and renovations also reflect an ongoing trend, both nationally and locally, to deliver primary care using a practice model called the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). The National Committee for Quality Assurance defines the Patient Centered Medical Home model as “a way of organizing primary care that emphasizes care coordination and communication to transform primary care into “what patients want it to be.” Medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patients’ and providers’ experience of care”.

    According to Timothy Churchill, Western Maine Health President, “A primary goal for our organization is to improve access to care for our patients.  As we continue to recruit new physicians and mid-level providers such as nurse practitioners to the community, we need to ensure there is suitable, well designed space in which the team can deliver top notch care to our patients using the new care delivery model.

    Preble and Churchill went on to say that the project reflects Western Maine Health’s and Stephens Memorial Hospital’s commitment to the region. “We believe it will be a positive development for our medical staff, employees, our patients and the communities we serve”.