Penobscot Community Health Center, Inc. (Bangor, ME).

 Learning Together, to Work Together for Quality Patient Care

Project Overview:  Penobscot  Community Health Center, Inc.  ( PCHC)  aims to  create a multi-faceted training and retention program that will develop entry level employees in the patient centered medical home model, provide opportunities and incentives for advancement within the organization, and establish a community collaborative to prepare the next generation of health care professionals for satisfying, long term health center careers.

Project Objectives:

Focusing on core entry level positions – Patient Service Representatives, Health Assistants

Medical Records Staff, Referrals Staff, Pharmacy Technicians, Billing Clerks, Call Center Representatives project aimed to:

  • Improve job satisfaction;
  • Decrease staff turnover;
  • Improve staff core competencies, enhance skills and reduce errors
    •  Focus on communication, team building, time management, conflict resolution, diversity training, health literacy, professionalism, customer service.

Grant Activities:

  • Developed a 24-hour  Core Competency curriculum and successfully trained  more than health center  180 employees .
  • Developed a formal career lattice that provides for upward and lateral mobility of entry-level staff, including Patient Service Representative 1, Health Assistant, Medical Records Clerk Pharmacy Technician, Billing Clerk and Call Center Representative, and standardized related position descriptions and evaluation tolls to address measurable competencies.
  •  In partnership with the Maine Primary Care Association, convened Advisory Council of 12 FQHCs to develop and  beta-test model in preparation for statewide roll out.
  • Developed a train-the-trainer curriculum that was successfully utilized at a workshop attended by 27 colleagues representing  13 Maine FQHCs.
  • Produced a video of the train-the-trainer workshop (available to attendees and other interested parties on the internet.)
  • Enhanced collaboration with Health Care Workforce Training Program / Maine Department of Labor to train 36 participants in core competencies and advanced skill path
  • Formulated additional Supervisor/ Leadership training to enhance career opportunities , as well as additional training opportunities  including Medical Terminology  1; Microsoft Office MOS Certification; Certified Professional Coding; Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology  11; and Supervisor/Leadership  101.  Medical Assistant  Competency and a Dental Assistant Competency are in development.

About the Grantee:

About the Penobscot Community Health Center (PCHC), a non-profit organization founded in 1997, is the only federally qualified health center in the greater Bangor, Maine  area. Its purpose is to ensure access to comprehensive and integrated out- patient health care services to those on MaineCare and Medicare, with or without insurance – regardless of their ability to pay. Staffed by 180 full- and part time clinicians, including medical and dental practitioners, mental health providers, physical therapists, pharmacists, and medical specialists,  PCHC provided ~ 350,000 patient visits for over 50,000 individuals in 2012. Fifteen clinics in the Bangor area offer a wide range of services, including family medicine, dental, pediatrics, geriatrics, nursing home care, psychiatry, mental health and substance abuse services, physical therapy, lab, x-ray, and pharmacy and healthcare for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. In addition, PCHC has a team of medical specialists that delivers a wide range of specialty services including allergy, gynecology, orthopedics, podiatry, dermatology, and osteopathic manipulative therapy. All PCHC services are provided with a sliding fee scale based on income through its Affordable Care Program to make certain that everyone can obtain the healthcare services they need. Approximately4% of the budget of PCHC is funded by federal FQHC operating grants. PCHC is accredited by the Joint Commission in providing ambulatory care, laboratory services, and a primary care medical home for patients. PCHC was awarded National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) certification as a patient-centered medical home and for evidence-based medicine (diabetes and heart stroke), and has been named a top performer in the healthcare equality index and a top participator in the Maine Patient-Centered Medical Home Pilot project and Get Better Maine.