Growing Healthier, More Active Kids

Franklin Community Health Network

The healthcare providers at Franklin County’s only pediatric medical practice, Franklin Health Pediatrics (FHP), are developmentally oriented and trained in skilled assessment to focus on preventing, detecting and managing physical, behavioral and developmental problems that affect infants, children and adolescents. FHP’s pediatricians work to reduce infant and child morbidity and mortality, foster healthy lifestyles, and ease the day-to-day difficulties for those with chronic conditions. The practice’s doctors also staff the pediatric hospitalist service at Franklin Memorial Hospital. No child or family is ever denied care because of inability to pay.

Less-than-optimal vaccination rates impact the health of children through disease outbreaks, missed school, hospitalizations and, in some cases, death. FHP clinicians make immunizations both a personal and professional priority by ensuring that parents have access to scientifically accurate information about vaccines so they can make informed immunization decisions for themselves and their children. These providers apparently make a convincing case. FHP’s average rate for age-2 immunizations is 92.8 percent compared with Maine’s average rate of 84.2 percent (CDC Maine Average 2013 NIS Data). These high rates protect the community from certain contagious public health threats by preventing children from spreading diseases to others, meaning that one vaccination protects more lives than just one.

Franklin Health Pediatrics has received recognition as a patient-centered medical home model, a widely recognized symbol of quality that is earned only by successfully passing rigorous and thorough reviews. This recognition demonstrates that the practice has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care at the right time, including same-day appointments as needed, expanded hours, 24/7 access to a provider, and direct delivery of behavioral health services by a licensed clinical social worker.

FHP also provides walk-in urgent care services for patients daily from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. Patients who have acute, short-term illnesses or injuries that need prompt attention but aren’t life-threatening — such as earaches, sore throats, coughs and sprains — can receive care.

Another successful initiative, Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0, a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program based in Maine, encourages increasing servings of fruits and vegetables each day, decreasing hours of recreational screen time, increasing physical activity and avoiding sugary drinks. As a Let’s Go! Healthcare Site of Distinction, FHP has Let’s Go! posters with the 5-2-1-0 message for daily behavior change in patient waiting rooms and all exam rooms; providers determine patients’ body mass indexes, percentiles and weight classifications; and providers use the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits Questionnaire at well-child visits as a tool for a respectful conversation around healthy eating and active living.

FHP understands that pediatric care is about more than providing well-child visits, sports exams, and sick visits. It is care focused on the whole person encompassing developmental milestones, preventive care, emotional well-being, and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

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