LEWISTON — Central Maine Healthcare obstetrics-gynecology is requiring its patients to first seek routine care from their primary care practice or other hospital offices instead of scheduling them with the hospital’s OB-GYN office, according to spokesman Jim Cyr.

The shift will allow patients seeking non-routine or specialized care to be seen by the OB-GYN office, he said. It helps keep acute appointments open for people who “truly” need an OB-GYN consultation. “This approach is actually helping, with more appropriate access to people who need it,” he said.

The hospital will work with patients who need prescriptions filled routinely to find the best place to be seen to get it filled, he said.

There are many types of medical providers who can perform annual exams, such as a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, physicians assistant or nurse practitioner, he said. The hospital system’s physicians and offices will work together to solve problems or bottlenecks that might act as a barrier to people scheduling appointments in a timely manner with their primary care provider on an as-needed basis. “The patient is at the center of everything we do,” he said.

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center closed its maternity and women’s health service line last summer because of declining birth rates. The roughly 50-person staff that worked at St. Mary’s maternity department was absorbed by Central Maine Medical Center. It was anticipated that most of St. Mary’s patients would also have their care switched to Central Maine.

Comments are no longer available on this story