FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital will share more than a half-million dollars in grant funding to help people without health insurance connect with health services in Franklin County.

The Maine Health Access Foundation announced the award of $672,887 in grant funding to three health care systems in the state in a news release issued Friday. Franklin Memorial Hospital, MaineHealth CarePartners in Knox County, and Penobscot Community Health Care are sharing the award, from the foundation’s Access to Quality Care program.

“People without health insurance face significant challenges in accessing health care services to maintain their health,” said Dr. Wendy Wolf, the foundation’s president an CEO, in the release.

“We want everyone in Maine to be able to have an ongoing relationship with a trusted doctor or other primary care provider,” Wolf added.

At Franklin Memorial, the grant will be used to fund a community resource coordinator that will help link people without insurance to primary care providers and other services, according to the release. Tracy Harty, based at the Health Community Coalition near the hospital, is the project lead and is developing a universal referral form, coordinating with community resources and contacting uninsured patients seeking primary care services at the emergency department at the hospital, according to the release. After the first year, Harty will coordinate resources and care transition for uninsured patients through face-to-face encounters, follow-up calls within 48 hours, making appropriate referrals and ensuring individuals have access to primary care, dental care, and behavioral health services, according to the release.

MaineHealth will use the funding to implement its CarePartners program, which coordinates donated health care services for low-income uninsured patients into Knox County. According to its website, the CarePartners program is already in place in Cumberland, Lincoln, Waldo and Kennebec counties. Penobscot Community Health Care will use its share of the award to linking patients with chronic pain or opiate addiction to high quality primary care and collaborative care management teams, according to the release.

Ongoing relationships with primary care providers “supports better communication between provider and patient and more robust coordination of specialty care, including behavioral health services and other care,” Dr. Wolf said in the release.

“Our goal with the Access to Quality Care program is to ensure that people who are uninsured experience better, more coordinated care that can result in better health outcomes,” she said.

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