In Case You Missed It: Maine Federally Qualified Health Centers Complete Quality Improvement Initiative to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates

In an effort to bring heightened awareness, strategic direction and actionable measures to achieving breakthrough improvements in colorectal cancer screening rates, the Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA), along with members: HealthReach Community Health Centers, Nasson Health Care and Penobscot Community Health Care, recently completed a 15-month quality improvement initiative led by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Although treatable and often cured when detected early on, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer diagnosed. According to American Cancer Society estimates, in 2016 there is expected to be:

  • 95,270 new cases of colon cancer;
  • 39,220 new cases of rectal cancer; and
  • 49,190 resulting deaths.

Based on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) model of collaboration, the ACS-directed learning initiative was designed to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across New England with the ultimate aim of improving population health and patient experience.

Maine Primary Care Association’s Director of Continuous Quality Improvement, Jeff Brown, stated, “The American Cancer Society and Maine’s Federally Qualified Health Centers will continue to apply lessons learned from this initiative which has revealed barriers to patient engagement in colorectal cancer screening, and opportunities to overcome them. The dedication and compassion of American Cancer Society personnel and community health center staff in combatting this and other forms of cancer are an inspiration to all of us at the Maine Primary Care Association.” 

For more information about this learning collaborative or other quality improvement initiatives, please email Jeff Brown.

In Case You Missed It: Recap of MPCA Needs Assessment Webinar


On March 30th, MPCA hosted a webinar featuring our Data Analyst, Ida Batista and Director of Communication and Data Coordination, Jeb Murphy, discussing the role of data in health centers needs assessments.

The webinar covered a lot, but some of the most interesting information was the data resource list that Ida had put together. This, in addition to some interesting questions to think about while viewing, made for an enlightening 45 minutes.

Some major takeaways were:

  • Needs assessments are best seen and used as living documents, something to be developed and worked with often, not only when asked for regarding grants, etc.
  • A list of data spanning various sectors and resources
  • A discussion on not only reporting data, but also developing the whole data story of your health center

This webinar was intended for leadership and those involved in the Needs Assessment process and the recording can be found by clicking here. For those seeking further information about data resources and needs assessment process, contact Ida Batista.

In Case You Missed It: Recap of MPCA's Active Shooter Webinar

Due to increased active shooter events across the country, Maine’s new gun laws as of Oct 2015, and member request, MPCA held an active shooter training via webinar on March 8th, 2016. This webinar featured the Department of Homeland Security’s Run, Hide, Fight video, which is considered to be the national protocol for active shooter events, preparedness activities, and after action measures. Detective David Pelletier from the Maine State Police also joined the webinar to speak about Maine’s gun laws and law enforcement’s role and response to active shooter and mass casualty incidents.

Some high level takeaways were:

  • Gaining a better understanding of Maine's Gun Laws
  • Understanding the response of police during an active shooter event
  • Becoming familiar with Run, Hide, Fight and gain knowledge of hot to integrate its teachings into your health center
  • Learning how to integrate preventative measures and strategies in regards to active shooters

This webinar was intended for the general FQHC audience and can be found by clicking here. For those seeking further information on training, drills and exercises related to emergency preparedness, contact Cecelia French.


Welcome Russell Begin, MPCA's new CFO

The Maine Primary Care Association is pleased to welcome our new CFO, Russell J. Begin. Russell comes to the PCA with a vast skill set that covers state government, as well as the private and non-profit sector.

Russell describes himself as “ an innovative finance leader with demonstrated success in managing human capital and financial resources and leveraging technology to improve performance.”

Within the State of Maine alone, Russell has worked within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor and The Maine Revenue Service. Within this work alone Russell has used a vision that embraces technology to implement and improve numerous practices and processes toward better work flow and innovative new ideas.

His work background spans beyond, though, where he has held positions at Martins Point Health Care and Preservation Management, Inc. among others.

Within his background, Mr. Begin has "achieved organizational objectives by drawing from managerial experiences in finance, operations, marketing, and information technology… [getting] results by facilitating cooperation and collaboration and inspiring team members to realize group goals.”

Russell received his B.S. of Science at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine and his MBA, with coursework in Economics, Marketing and Controllership, from the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

MPCA is thrilled to have Russ joining the team and we look forward to what new ideas Russ will bring to the team, as well as share with our members and their health centers. Russ can be reached at Please help us in welcoming him to the Maine Primary Care Association!

MPCA's 2016 Legislative and Business Breakfast

February 2nd found a crowd of over 125 filling the event space at The Senator Inn in Augusta for our 2016 Legislative and Business Breakfast. Our yearly event works as a space to host three unique perspectives of how Community Health Centers put a true focus on the “community” aspect of their title. Not only did this year’s event present the perspectives of a business owner, a patient of Bucksport Regional Health Center and a dentist from Fish River Rural Health, but also a tribute to a former speaker who had passed away.

This year’s breakfast focused on the continued efforts to expand MaineCare for those falling into the coverage gap, as well as promoted the work MPCA is doing to provide preventative dental benefits through MaineCare for expecting mothers. The value of the health centers to their communities and patients echoed through the remarks of patient Dan Wheatley, Dr. Rebecca Elliott Reeves, DMD, and Martha Johnson (speaking on behalf Bruce Wagner, CEO of FAME who could not attend). Each speaker shared their valuable perspective in addressing the needs that they not only see, but also the need of those that we don’t.

 Patient Speaker, Dan Wheatley

Patient Speaker, Dan Wheatley

As it is every year, our Legislative and Business Breakfast was not only a success in the turnout, but in delivering the nuanced message of the value that is brought not only to individual communities, but also to the state of Maine as a whole through its network of Community Health Center.

Please find more photos from the event on our Facebook page