Letter: Access to health care is No. 1 priority

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Access to healthcare is priority # 1

At the community health forum held recently at Lakes Region High School, those in attendance reviewed a variety of population level health indicator data collected, which is posted at www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/phdata/MaineCHNA/final-CHNA-reports.shtml for Cumberland County.

After some facilitated small group dialogue, the 100-plus community stakeholders identified four health care priorities for the Lakes Region, with “access to health care” overwhelmingly the most urgent priority. Social determinants of health, behavioral health care and elder care rounded out the list of top priorities for the Lakes Region.

It was also recommended that we in the Lakes Region might want to look at Oxford County data as it might more accurately reflect what’s going on in respect to health and health care in the Lakes Region, which is more rural than some eastern communities of Cumberland County. Many in attendance at the forum also expressed interest in learning about access to health care options for the thousands of patients who have or will be losing their primary care physicians by year end due to provider resignations within the Central Maine Healthcare and Bridgton Hospital organizations.

Several partners of the Lakes Region Collective Action Network have agreed to host a follow-up meeting to continue the dialogue about area healthcare needs and available assets to meet those needs. To that end, we will convene a roundtable discussion and educational meeting on Nov. 14 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Bridgton Municipal Complex, downstairs meeting room, entrance off Iredale St.

The meeting design will be part listening session, part public information and resource sharing, with a goal of advocating for patient rights for continuity of care and access to primary and speciality care. If you are looking for information on how to locate primary or specialty care providers who are taking new patients, this is for you!

Please help spread the word and come learn how to advocate for the healthcare you deserve.

Rob Slattery
President & CEO Allons!Health
LRCAN member
Bridgton