Wiscasset Family Health is open in a new location after consolidating its practice from two buildings into one.
The practice’s new location at 35 Water St. has room to see more patients and consolidate staff into one building. It also offers better accessibility, according to owner Cortney Linville, a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
“It became clear over the couple of years practicing there that we needed some more room to expand. Interestingly, we wanted both to be able to expand in terms of exam rooms, but also consolidate our staff into one space,” she said.
The three-story, nearly 15,000-square-foot building has four more exam rooms than the old buildings, for a total of 14.
According to Linville, the building once housed an indoor shopping plaza known as the Port of Wiscasset. Most recently, it was used for offices; however, it had been on the market for at least three years before Linville closed on the property in November.
Wiscasset Family Health, the name the practice took after Linville bought it in 2017 from Dr. Edward Kitfield, serves a variety of health needs.
In addition to physicals for all ages, the practice offers minor dermatological surgery, pediatric care, consulting on end-of-life decisions, women’s health, and transgender care.
Wiscasset Family Health is a state-recognized opioid health home, offering recovery treatment to patients. It has an in-house licensed clinical social worker who works through Sweetser, a mental health provider. Bloodwork is provided by NorDx, a laboratory that had been offering services at the former office and is now renting space at the new location.
Wiscasset Family Health sees an average of 70 people a day. Patients live around the state.
The office closed for only a day and a half during the move from 66 Water St. to the new location. Linville leased the old location.
The new office opened March 16, three days after the first person in Maine tested positive for the coronavirus.
The pandemic has caused some changes for the health care provider.
An open house scheduled for March 16 was canceled and the practice is only seeing patients in person if they feel well and do not have symptoms of respiratory illness.
Wiscasset Family Health expanded its services the day after the new office opened by offering telehealth, which allows patients to visit their doctor by videoconference.
According to Linville, the office is proud to get telehealth up and running at a time when many health providers in Maine are still trying to understand it.
“They have literally turned into techs at this point,” Shelley Strozier, the office manager, said of staff.
During the coronavirus outbreak, telehealth allows providers to prevent the spread of the virus at the practice and keep both patients and staff healthy and safe.
The staff encourages patients who want to use telehealth, and those who need help with the system, to contact the office.
When the pandemic passes, Linville said, the health provider plans to start a moms group, a diabetes education group, and yoga classes, and to expand its opioid addiction treatment program. The practice is always taking new patients.
Although staff has been consolidated into one building, no new staff was hired. The office has 17 staff members, including three physician assistants, a nurse practitioner, and Linville.
In the new space, the basement is being used for a staff area, the ground level for health care, and the top floor as rental space, Linville said.
Wiscasset Family Health would like renters to be compatible with the practice. The ultimate goal is to have a pharmacy lease the space, Linville said. The closest pharmacy is 11 miles away.
The interior of the building was painted and renovated, with new flooring and windows and the reconfiguration of some areas. Exterior renovations are planned. As at the old offices, there is designated parking at the new one.
Beautiful water views and the Donald E. Davey Bridge are visible from many rooms.
At the old office, disabled patients had to wait for an exam room on the first floor to open; now, all rooms are accessible on the first level.
Linville credited her staff with facilitating the swift move. “You could have not asked for more help,” she said.
Amanda Kellett, the practice’s quality coordinator, painted artwork around the building.
Instead of numbers, the exam rooms have small pictures outside their doors that identify the room, with matching paintings inside. For example, the practice has a Lupines Room, a Wiscasset Room, a Music Room, and a Bones Room.
“I liked the idea of having no numbers on the rooms. All the rooms are named,” Linville said.
The office will have art exhibits. The current exhibit features photographic portraits of Bath Iron Works employees. Linville would like to feature work from patients who are artists.
Wiscasset Family Health’s hours have temporarily changed due to the outbreak. Providers are seeing patients from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The office closes from 12:15-1:30 p.m. for lunch and a meeting time.
When the crisis passes, the office will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some evening hours.
The practice would like to host an open house after the crisis.
For patients in need of medical guidance during the coronavirus outbreak, the practice is screening for symptoms by phone.