How do you know if a career in health care is right for you? And even if you know what you want to ...
Martin’s Point Health Care Named One of the 2019 Best Workplaces in Health Care and Biopharma by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE
Great Place to Work and FORTUNE have honored Martin’s Point Health Care as one of the 2019 Best ...
I’m too young. I dread the prep. I have no family history.
Whatever your reason for avoiding getting screened for colorectal cancer (CRC), it’s not good enough. CRC is one of the most preventable and curable types of cancer. And that’s a big deal when you consider it’s the number two cancer killer in this country.
A cancer we can catch – and cure
Colorectal cancer, found in the large intestine or colon and/or rectum, is more common than you might think. Risk is highest among those age 50 and up, and as you age, your risk climbs. In 2015, 263 people in Maine and 195 people in New Hampshire died of CRC. That year, 1,263 new cases were diagnosed in these two states alone, say statistics kept by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data shows the needle is slowly moving as medical providers urge more Americans to get screened. From 2014 to 2016, 3.3 million more people were screened for colorectal cancer – a 1.1% increase over prior years. Trouble is, in the 50- to 75-year-old crowd, more than 25% have never been screened, and another 7% are behind schedule. All in all, that means about one-third of adults in the target age group are vulnerable.
How does screening save lives?
Screening stacks the deck in your favor two ways. One, it allows doctors to identify and remove polyps – growths that shouldn’t be there and may become cancerous – before they do any harm. Two, if cancer is found, doctors can treat it right away. That’s important because the sooner cancer is treated, the better the chance for a cure.
“When patients say they’ll wait to have a screening until they have symptoms, I let them know that it’s usually too late to prevent a treatable cancer,” says David Stressler, M.D., a family physician at the Martin’s Point Health Center in Biddeford. “I’m here to answer questions and offer reassurance. My goal is to perform a thorough screening and make their experience with safe and comfortable.”
Testing and timing: Key if you’re age 50 to 75
Health care providers also point out that there are many types of screening, and some are less invasive than you might think. Some tests can even be done at home by taking a stool sample and then sending it to a lab for testing. Others need to be done in a doctor’s office. This includes a flexible sigmoidoscopy, where doctors use a wand to see the inside of the rectum and lower part of the colon. A colonoscopy works the same way, but allows a view of the entire colon. Doctors also sometimes use virtual colonoscopies to capture and review the images they need.
If you’re approaching or over age 50, talk with your doctor about the right screening test for your situation. “I’m here to answer questions and offer reassurance,” adds Dr. Strassler. “My goal is to perform a thorough screening and make your experience safe and comfortable.”
Keep in mind that although these tests are important for everyone between the ages of 50 and 75, some people have an elevated risk and may need testing earlier or more often. This can apply if you have:
- Already had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer –
Employees Lend Support and Companionship
If you don’t already have a PCP, now is the time to get one. Here are five reasons why:
- Having a PCP takes away worry. It’s no fun searching for a doctor when you’re
The Husky Grads of 2019 Class Gift Campaign will raise funds for the Student Emergency Fund to unlock a $20,000 matching donation from Martin’s Point Health Care.
The USM Foundation’s first student-focused fundraising campaign kicks off March 1 with a challenge to this year’s graduating class: Raise at least $2,019 to support the Student Emergency Fund by May 8 and Martin’s Point Health Care will make a $20,000 matching gift to the fund. The Student Emergency Fund is a new USM initiative designed to help students who face sudden, unanticipated expenses that threaten to derail their ability to stay in school and finish their degrees.
Martin’s Point Health Care, a long-time partner with the University, views access to higher education as a necessary component of a healthy community. According to Steve Amendo, vice president for marketing and community engagement at Martin’s Point, “The Student Emergency Fund is a smart and effective way to help financially vulnerable students persist in their studies. We’re excited to support future USM students and energize student engagement for the class of 2019 with this challenge.”
“We’ve seen students who are so close to finishing
The startling impact on health and well-being
It might surprise you to learn that social isolation can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In fact, researchers have found links between isolation and all sorts of health problems, including dementia and Alzheimer’s, and chronic conditions like heart disease. Adults who are socially isolated are two-thirds more likely to undergo further physical decline; and nearly twice as likely to die2 than those who stay linked to others.
Experts call the situation an epidemic for American seniors. With more citizens over age 65 than any other state but Florida1, Maine’s situation is especially severe. But there’s good news, too. Because each one of us has the power to make a difference. And the best way to start is with a little background information.
What’s behind the isolation epidemic?
Seniors get cut off for a number of reasons – and there’s often more than one factor at play for each situation.
- Transportation challenges. Many seniors can no longer drive, and/or face limited or no options for getting out and about.
- Poor health. A myriad of issues from hearing loss to arthritis to injury from falling to depression keep many seniors cooped up.
- Major life transitions or losses. Retiring from work, the death of a spouse, and caring for a sick or aging spouse can all remove or severely limit socialization and connections for seniors.
- Lots of rural areas. Eleven of Maine’s 16 counties are considered rural.3 The populations here have higher percentages of seniors, who also face the additional challenges of poverty and poorer health than Mainers living in more populated areas.4
“Senior loneliness is something that we are concerned about year round, but particularly during the cold, dark winter months of New England. Often, the discomfort of the cold and fear of walking or driving on ice and snow limits the mobility of the elderly population. This leads to further isolation, which is already a concern for many. This often leads to feelings of depression and anxiety and can manifest in so many ways, both physically and mentally. This time of isolation also results in limited activity or exercise and can lead to falls and pain from arthritis. Many seniors often have limited funds for food and heat and can have to deal with cold homes with little to eat. We should all take the time to think what we could do for those less fortunate than ourselves.”
– Brad Huot, Martin’s Point Practice Medical Director, Portland Health Care Center
Here’s where you come in
Social isolation is complicated. But small steps can make a big difference in the lives of seniors near you and benefit your community as a whole, too.
In your neighborhood:
Start by simply being aware of your senior neighbors and looking for ways to connect. When you meet on the street, say hello and introduce yourself.
_ Ask a neighbor to go for a walk or have coffee.
_ Offer to deliver groceries, take trash to the curb, or shovel snow.
_Host a simple neighborhood coffee or potluck.
_Keep your radar up for elderly neighbors who may become vulnerable after losing a spouse or partner.
_Check on vulnerable neighbors during bad weather, power outages, and the like. In big neighborhoods, you might join other neighbors and set up a system so no one’s left out.
In your community:
_Volunteer at your local senior center.
_Ask nearby assisted living facilities about opportunities to socialize or share a meal or a game with residents.
_Help seniors learn about cell phones, social media, Skype, and other technology that can help them stay in touch through your local library, school, or community center.
_Ask staff at your church about providing transportation, meals or companionship to seniors in your area.
Do you have a suggestion for helping seniors or do you have a volunteering opportunity you’d like to share? Share your comments below!
Q. Three people in my house take medication regularly. My mother visits a lot, and she takes five medicines. How can we keep them straight?
A. Start by keeping a master list of medications for each person in your household. Each list should include all medications, vitamins and supplements each person takes, along with the following:
• The name of the medicine or supplement
• What the medicine is for
• The name and phone number of the healthcare provider who prescribed the medicine
• How much to take and how often
• A brief description the medication, including color, shape and markings
• Side effects to watch for
• What to do if a dose is missed
• Who to call if there’s a problem.
Keep these lists up-to-date and make sure a family member has copies.
Q. How do I know it’s safe to take my medicine with another medicine?
A. “Medications can be complicated. Understanding how your medicines work with other medicines and your body is important for safety and effectiveness,” says Rebekah Dube, Vice President of Health Plan Clinical Programs at Martin’s Point.
Always ask your healthcare provider and/or pharmacist before you take any new medication, and make sure he or she is aware of other medications you’re currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as vitamins and supplements. Also, make your healthcare provider or pharmacist is aware of all of your medical conditions.
Q. How can I remember to take my medicine?
A. If you’re taking multiple medicines on different schedules, it can be hard to keep track. Providers offer these tips:
• Use a calendar or planner. Record each dose as an appointment, then check it off as you go.
• Set an alarm to remind you when to take medications.
• Post reminder notes in obvious places – by your coffee maker or on your nightstand, TV, laptop or refrigerator.
• Use a pillbox with multiple compartments for different days of the week.
Q. How should I store medications safely with children in the house?
A. More than 60,000 young children a year need emergency care for poisoning after taking medicine intended for a parent or grandparent. Take these critical steps to protect children:
• Store all medicine up high, out of reach and out of sight of children. Remember kids are climbers – a locked cabinet may be the safest option.
• Return medicines, vitamins and supplements to their safe storage places immediately after taking or administering it – even if it’s a medication you or someone in your home takes multiple times a day.
• Ask for child-resistant caps for medicine containers whenever possible.
• Think of all the other places kids could find medicines – like a backpack, purse or coat pocket, or in the room or pocket of a visiting relative – and store them safely.
• Post the number for Poison Help Line – 800-222-1222 – in an easy-to-find place and add it to the favorites on your cell phone.
Q. My cabinet is full of old medicine bottles and jars. How should I get rid of the ones I don’t need anymore?
A. The best way to dispose of medicines is through a take-back program. You can find out about these events and collection sites through your police station or pharmacy, or by searching the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration website (just enter your ZIP code). If this isn’t an option, some medications can be thrown out with trash after they are mixed with cat litter, dirt or coffee grounds and sealed in a plastic bag. Note that the Food and Drug Administration recommends that medicines on this list be flushed down a toilet instead of thrown out – a practice that also raises concerns about contamination and environmental impact.
Q. Does Martin’s Point have pharmacies? Where are they?
A. Yes! We have two pharmacies open for all – one at our health care center in Portland, Maine, and one at our center in Portsmouth, N.H. Stop by for competitive pricing on the highest-quality, most effective brand-name and generic drugs. We also stock many popular over-the-counter medications.
Call with questions or refill a prescription 24-hours a day:
• Portland pharmacy: 1-888-408-8281
• Portsmouth pharmacy: 1-800-603-0562
Q. Who should I call if I have a question about medication?
A. “Understanding your medications is an important part of staying educated about your healthcare
Tip: Though warm and protected from the elements, indoor walking can get repetitive over time. Keep it fun by bringing a friend, music, or an audiobook. Use a pedometer to count and track your steps – it’s great for motivation. And play around with changing your pace – faster on the straights, slower on the curves – or incorporating intervals, such as alternating 1 minute of faster-paced walking with 2 minutes at a slower pace.
Brunswick Recreation Center Indoor Track
220 Neptune Drive at Brunswick Landing, Brunswick
The two-lane track measures about 1/9 of a mile. Hours vary. Most days the track is open from 8:30 am to 8 pm.
More info: 207-725-6656
Mason-Motz Activity Center
190 Middle Rd., Falmouth
Walk the hallways and gym.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8 am to 5 pm; Tuesday, 8 am to 6 pm; Friday, 8 am to noon.
For more info: 207-699-5302
Over the past year, a group of Martin’s Point IT staffers has teamed up with a Southern Maine Community College program called ESOL to IT. The program’s goal is to help immigrants find gainful employment in their chosen field– information technology – here in Maine while feeding qualified candidates to Maine businesses that need IT support.
Jim Vernier, Manager of IT Service Operations at Martin’s Point, had been in conversation with SMCC about the ESOL to IT program just as his department’s team was looking for a new project.
“We had already started a talent pipeline with SMCC to help manage our Help Desk, so we
Martin’s Point physician, Dr. Roy Nakamura, reflects on his experience as a volunteer guardian and chaperone during a recent Honor Flight Maine trip to Washington, DC.
Honor Flight Maine is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s Veterans for all their service and sacrifices. Transportation is provided to Washington, D.C. to tour, experience and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to our most frail veterans – terminally ill veterans of all conflicts and World War II survivors.
They’re stocked with plenty of produce, like cranberries, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, squashes and sweet potatoes. Some vendors even deftly outfox winter by growing fresh local greens indoors.
In addition to bounty from the garden, many markets also feature live music, tasty baked goods, and wares from local artisans – all in warm, dry spaces out the elements. Check our listings and get to a winter market near you!
As of late November, more than 15% of Maine high school students had used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. The true percentage is almost certainly significantly higher, reports Becky Smith of the Portland American Heart Association chapter. That’s because many teens don’t count using the popular devices called JUULs (pronounced “jewels”) as e-cigarettes.
What is vaping?
Vaping is using an e-cigarette or other battery-powered device to heat a liquid. E-cigarette liquids – or e-liquids – typically contain nicotine, glycol, flavors and sometimes more or different ingredients. Heating this liquid creates an aerosol or vapor instead of smoke, which the user inhales and exhales.
Most popular among teens, JUULs are closed-system devices that include attaching a cartridge or pod filled with e-liquid. There are also open-system e-cigarettes, which are filled with e-liquid by hand with a squeeze dropper.
Why teens vape
Not only do teens misunderstand the risks of e-cigarettes, they are notoriously curious. Many are drawn to try vaping by friends or family members. Others are lured by enticing flavors. One study found more than 80% of first-time e-cigarette users started out with a flavored product. And with options like mint, blueberry pie and pink balloon – plus advertising on the social media sites frequented by this age group – there’s no doubt marketers are targeting teens.
The trouble with vaping
Vaping devices were originally designed to help smokers wean themselves off cigarettes. Ironically, they come with an entire new and equally troubling set of risks.
- More nicotine, more addictive risk. A single
Seniors fall more often than you may think. Last year 21,722 Mainers over age 65 sought emergency room treatment as a result of a fall, reports the Maine Health Data Organization. “That’s about 60 people each day,” says Anna Guest, Fall Prevention Project Director at the Southern Maine Agency on Aging and part of the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition.
Aging doesn’t have to bring you down
At Martin’s Point, we want seniors to know their stories can be different – with balance training. Balance training keeps you steadier, builds strength, and reduces risk for injury – as 73-year-old Patricia Sipos of South Portland knows firsthand.
“I’ve had a few falls – one of which landed me in the hospital with a concussion and a hematoma the size of a grapefruit,” says the Martin’s Point’s US Family Health Plan member from South Portland. Then Pat started attending the All About Balance class at the Martin’s Point Health Care Center in Scarborough in March of 2017. “I haven’t fallen in a year,” she says, adding that she’s also able to safely enjoy favorite activities like camping and gardening again.
Building balance, one hour at a time
New evidence shows older adults can
During pharmacy school, Angela set her sights on the selective University of New England’s PGY-1 Community Pharmacy Residency program, run in partnership with Martin’s Point Health Care and Hannaford Pharmacy. This unique program gives pharmacists a wealth of significant experience in a variety of pharmacy fields including: ambulatory care, managed care and community pharmacy, plus teaching and conducting research.
A range of experiences opens more doors
Though the program is young – the first resident completed the program in June 2016 – its value is already clear. As healthcare continues to change rapidly, the role of the pharmacist continues to expand. By working with providers and patients, developing pharmacists have a greater impact on public health. They learn to strategize with doctors, choosing the most effective medications that will be covered by insurance. They also learn to help patients follow their medication regimens properly and work with health plans to optimize coverage.
The 107th Annual Thanksgiving Day Game between Deering High School and Portland High School takes place Thursday, November 22nd at 10:30 am at Deering High School’s Memorial Stadium. We’re proud to say that the volunteer Team Physician for each team is a Physician at Martin’s Point Health Care. In this video, Dr. John Colianni, Team Physician for Deering High School, shares what that role means to him.
Bullying online and off
Any behavior that is unwanted, unfriendly, and often repeated over time is considered bullying. Making threats, spreading rumors, launching physical or verbal attacks, and intentionally excluding individuals from groups are all examples of bullying.
Cyber bullies – also called haters and trolls – may send unkind text messages or emails, distribute rumors by email or on social media sites, or post or send embarrassing pictures, videos, websites or fake profiles – often anonymously. Cyber bullying can occur day or night with dramatic effect, because it can reach a large audience quickly.
Know the warning signs
Bullying can happen to anyone. Some children become targets because they are disabled or socially isolated, or because of their sexual orientation. Every child who is bullied may not show signs, but there are telltale signs:
“Children do not always show the same textbook symptoms when they are bullied,” says Katie Swan-Potter, NP-C, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Martin’s Point Brunwick-Baribeau Drive Health Care Center. “Some shut down, become more introverted or sleep less. Others act out, become difficult to restrain or become bullies themselves. When there are also physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or digestive issues, we always consider bullying as a possible cause.”
Prevent bullying before it starts
We all want to protect our children and make sure they feel safe at school, during sports and other activities, and throughout their community. You can help by encouraging your child to talk with you about anything. “A strong relationship between parent and child can be instrumental in their ability to withstand the stress of social pressures and teasing,” adds Swan Potter.
Another key strategy: help your child build resilience. In the Youth Voice Project, researchers surveyed more than 13,000 students in 31 U.S. schools, and found the steps below can help kids cope with stressful situations, like bullying:
- Make family time a priority.
- Encourage your child to have positive relationships with adults outside of your immediate family.
- Encourage your child to pursue hobbies and interests.
- Create opportunities to connect with kids outside of school.
- Help your child learn how to solve problems.
- Encourage your child to ask for help when necessary.
- Urge your child to help others and acknowledge the impact he or she makes by helping.
- Help your child understand that people may act unkindly to others.
If you think your child is a victim
If you suspect your child is being bullied at school, talk to his or her teacher and school officials right away and work together on a plan. This is especially important if events are harming your child’s ability to sleep, eat, learn or participate in other daily activities.
Don’t hesitate to involve your child’s health care provider. Bullying can have long-term health effects on young people, including significantly increasing risk for depression.
“You are your child’s most important advocate,” adds Swan-Potter. “It’s
Martin’s Point’s Terry Keough volunteers her time at a very special place. Located in Windham, Maine, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center is a non-profit dedicated to helping people with disabilities reach their highest potential through the healing power of horses. At RTT, children and adults with disabilities work together with horses, volunteers and staff to overcome challenges and reach their highest potential.
The National Institutes of Health agree a mammogram – a low-dose screening X-ray – is the most important step you can take to protect yourself against breast cancer. These images give doctors information they can’t get by examination alone, detecting changes in tissue like lumps, tumors or minuscule calcium deposits that might otherwise go unnoticed.
3-D mammograms: the latest screening technology
Three-dimensional imaging provides additional detail that can lead to more accurate evaluations of breast tissue, with benefits that are hard to ignore:
- Detects 20-65% more invasive breast cancer than 2-D mammography.
- Allows for earlier
“Getting the flu vaccine not only protects you, but also those in your life that are more vulnerable. Influenza kills thousands every year and is very preventable. It results in so many missed days of work and school and is miserable to get for everyone! Influenza is already here this year, so get your vaccine now. “
– Brad Huot, MD (Portland Health Care Center)
When is flu season? The season typically peaks between late November and the end of March.
That said, it’s ideal to get vaccinated by the end of October, say officials from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control. It takes two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that will safeguard you against the flu, and you want to be ready when the flu reaches your Maine community.
Martin’s Point Health Care Earns 5 Stars, Among Nation’s Highest-Quality Medicare Advantage
Innovative, Tailored Care Models for Maine’s Seniors
Washington, DC (October 3, 2018) – Martin’s Point Health Care, based in Portland, Maine, is implementing forward-thinking programs and care models to meet the health care needs of the state’s rapidly growing, mostly rural, and chronically ill senior population. That was the message Martin’s Point President and CEO, David Howes, MD, shared at an October 3 hearing of the Senate Committee on Aging, chaired by Maine Senator Susan Collins.
Maine health care providers, including Martin’s Point, are on the front line of tackling a collection of senior health care challenges other states will face in the years ahead. Maine’s average population age is rising faster than that of any state in the nation. Projections show that, by 2020, those over the age of 65 in Maine will outnumber those under 18—a statistic that is 15 years ahead of the national projected date of 2035. Adding to the complexity of this issue, 31 percent of Maine’s senior population lives below 200 percent of the poverty line and 51 percent lives in rural areas.
In describing their innovative approach to caring for a this progressively aging population, Dr. Howes highlighted the fact that Martin’s Point provides Maine seniors with both direct patient care and Medicare health plans. This unique combination of services allows the organization to leverage health care information to inform targeted and closely managed care, resulting in improved patient outcomes and experience and driving down costs.
“I regard our [health plan] care management programs as some of our best innovation work at Martin’s Point,” said Dr. Howes. “They continue to illustrate to me that the little things can make a big difference.”
In his Senate testimony Dr. Howes described several programs that illustrate this strategic approach to delivering care, managing costs and helping seniors live independently. These programs feature a care model that emphasizes close care coordination and chronic disease management. Some of the programs included in the testimony include:
- A home-based comprehensive
“Any yoga posture that assists natural exhalation of breath instantly reduces tension in the body,” says Erin Compton, owner of Riverbend Yoga in Yarmouth, Maine. Forward folds, seated or standing, are a great example. “Breathing out and giving in to gravity allow your body to shift from fight-or-flight to rest and digest, releasing stress-carrying hormones and easing tension from areas where we tend to hold it the most, like the hips and jaw.”
Also, postures that invert your body reverse the flow of blood and flush toxins. “It’s like a reset for your nervous system and body, inside and out,” says Compton, who has been teaching yoga for six years.
More good news, the poses don’t have to be complicated to do the trick. Compton shares her favorites here. For each pose, focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.
1 | Forward fold (also known as rag doll). Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Clasp opposite hand to opposite elbow, and hinge upper body forward, moving from hips. Shift weight forward to the front of your feet. Let your head hang heavy. Breathe. Work up to 1 minute.
Make it easier: Bend knees more, even to the point of resting upper body on thighs.
2 | Wide-leg forward fold. Step feet wider than hips, knees slightly bent. Hinge upper body forward, moving from hips. Rest hands on the floor and lift up through hips as you lengthen spine toward the floor, shifting weight forward to the front of your feet. Let your head hang heavy. Breathe. Work up to 1 minute.
Make it easier: Bring the floor closer by resting your hands on a stack of books or a yoga block.
3 | Child’s pose. Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Sink back as you slowly shift hips toward heels, extending arms overhead, palms on floor. Breathe. Work up to 3 minutes.
Make it easier: If your hips are tight, keep knees together and rest chest on thighs.
4 | Supported fish. Sitting on the floor, place a bed pillow or a couple of throw pillows behind you at the base of your spine; don’t sit on them. (The pillows expand your chest, making it easier to fill your lungs with oxygen and improving the flow of oxygen to the brain.)
Lower onto your back, legs extended in front of you, arms stretched to the sides, palms up. Rest back of head on floor or under an additional pillow. Lift chin off chest, close eyes. Breathe. “Let your muscles melt away from your bones,” cues Compton. Work up to 5 or 6 minutes, or more.
5 | Legs up the wall. Find about 3’ of clear wall space. ...