GROUND is broken Thursday at The Highlands in Topsham for a new Mid Coast Medical Group medical office.

GROUND is broken Thursday at The Highlands in Topsham for a new Mid Coast Medical Group medical office.

TOPSHAM


They donned hard hats, grabbed hold of shiny shovels and thrust them into a pile of dirt.


Ground was broken Thursday for a new 11,525- square-foot Topsham Mid Coast Medical Group facility just off the Route 196 Coastal Connector on Governor’s Way — a joint project between Mid Coast and The Highlands retirement community.


Mid Coast Health Services is aiming to open the facility at the end of February or middle of March 2014. Thursday’s groundbreaking recognized those “instrumental” in getting the project started, including a team of physicians, office staff and architects who designed the building to support the “patient-centered medical home” health care model.


John Wasileski, owner and developer of The Highlands and Highland Green, said that, like Mid Coast Hospital, “we try to take care of the vulnerable and the people that need help as part of our particular community.”


“As The Highlands has been growing over the last several years, Mid Coast is a relatively young organization, as well, but The Highlands Mid Coast will be here for many, many more years to come and survive all of us that are here, and that’s what we’re building,” Wasileski said. “A wonderful, finely-located group of services and programs that we hope will grow over the long term.”


Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Mid Coast Health Services, said Mid Coast Medical Group has long had ties to Topsham, including an office in the Bowdoin Mill Island complex.


“We’ve had a practice here for a decade,” she said, “and we just ran out of room so this has been a great opportunity for us to grow and expand in a location that meets the needs of the community but is also supportive of The Highlands residents as well.”


Skillings said architects have worked with the doctors and the rest of the health care team to design a facility “which really allows a more team approach to be caring for patients — not just when they come in to see their doctor, but throughout the year. It’s efficient, it’s very cost-effective, and it also allows us room to grow.”


There will be room for the current five doctors and one nurse practitioner at the Bowdoin Mill location, as well as room to double that staffing, Skillings said.


Dr. John Parker, who worked with the architects and helped design the facility, said they will build onto the building later as the demand increases and Mid Coast Health Services recruits additional doctors.


Parker, who served on the committee helping design the building, said, “We toured a bunch of other sites and really saw firsthand what people like and don’t like — and it made a huge difference for our design.”


The model emphasizes coordination, communication and a team approach. The new practice will help Mid Coast achieve what Skillings said is called the Triple Aim: improved health of the community, improved experience and quality of care, and lower health care costs.


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