Chebeague Health Center News for March 2008

Dear Chebeaguers,

This past year has been particularly hard for me --back surgery, broken ankle, eye surgery and now more back problems. As much as I don't want to say this, I must. I can no longer see patients in the office. Now that I've said that, let me try to answer all the questions that you probably have.

YES, Christopher Silva NP is staying on. Chris will continue to see patients every Tuesday morning. He will continue to see you for acute problems i.e. colds, sore throats, etc AND for chronic visits. If you normally see me for a "chronic visit" (that's when you have problems like high blood pressure, heart or lung problems and you need to be seen 3-4 times a year) you can see Chris OR you can see your doctor on the mainland. BUT somebody needs to see you --that's how you stay out of the hospital !!

YES, Nancy Hill RN is staying on. Nancy will continue to draw blood Tuesday mornings.

Yes, Yarmouth InterMed will continue to take "overflow" as they can when Chris can't see you or isn't' there . Call InterMed at 846 9013 and identify that you are a Chebeaguer. They will make every attempt to get you in either that day or the next day.

Refills of medication If I have been refilling your medicine, your mainland doctor can do that OR Chris can do this IF YOU HAVE SEEN HIM.

Patient Assistance from Drug Companies-Sign-up or Renewal your mainland doctor OR Chris can do this.

Accessing the Samaritan Fund for medicines/emergency buttons Chris and I will continue to do this. You can reach me on my beeper 767-8518. You can reach Chris at the Health Center at 846-4988 on Tuesdays.

Accessing the Fuel Assistance part of the Samaritan Fund Chris, Linda Brewster, our minister, and I will continue to do this. You can reach me on my beeper 767-8518. You can reach Chris on Tuesdays at 846-4988 at the Health Center. You can reach Linda Brewster at the Church at 846-4106.

Care for the Island Commons Residents Chris will continue to see Commons residents as needed on Tuesdays. I will see Commons residents one day a week as needed. I will no longer be able to see them on an emergency basis. Yes, this may mean that they will have to see their doctor on the mainland more often. Yes, this may mean they will have to go off "on the Rescue" to get an emergency evaluation.

On-Call Status I can no longer "take call" for the Island. Call your mainland doctor.

Hospice Care I will continue to provide Hospice care. Chris will continue to make Hospice calls on Tuesdays as needed.

Healthcare for the Island It is time for Chebeaguers to decide what kind of health care that we want on the Island. If Chebeaguers want to maintain or improve the health care on the Island are we willing to pay for it ?. I can assure you that no one can live off the money they make from seeing patients on the Islandthat's why the doctors gave up their Chebeague practice. Perhaps it's time to bring back the stipend that the Town of Cumberland provided many years ago. Perhaps it's time to consider housing -- whether it be as a "perk" i.e. come spend two weeks on the Island to enjoy your summer more OR as permanent housing on the Island for a part-time provider(s). Could the Island get 2-3 providers to "job-share" and have the provider LIVE on the Island when they are working ??? We have lots of questions that need to be answered regarding continued healthcare on the Island. I.e. If young families know that their child can be seen in a timely manner without leaving the Island are they more willing to move here or stay here ? What type of healthcare services need to be offered on the Island ? Can we get grants to start/maintain any of these services ? How many jobs can be created by providing these healthcare related services. You can see how these questions can lead to lots of other questions.

I hope that I have answered many of your questions. Please contact the Health Center Office at 846-4988 on Tuesdays if you have questions. If you prefer to speak with me about my retirement you can page me at 767-8518.

Thank you for your support, your notes and the homemade goodies over the years. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, that unyielding support "made my day"- it kept me going -it makes it hard to "stand down" as your Family Practice PA.

Gin Ballard PA-C

And, of course, Sasha