Pen Bay Medical Center is celebrating the opening of a new 42,000-square-foot Health Center on its Rockport campus — and the opportunity it presents to expand and improve access to primary care in Midcoast communities.

With additional precautions in place to ensure the safety of patients and care team members during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PBMC welcomed the first patients into the new space in early December. The facility opened in earnest on Dec. 14 with all offices seeing patients.

“We know that improving access to high quality primary care is one of the best ways to improve a community’s health,” said Dr. Mark Fourre, president of PBMC and Waldo County General Hospital. “This new Health Center is critical to our efforts to do just that, and it embodies our commitment to the health of this community.

“Not so long ago, we faced a pressing shortage of primary care providers,” Dr. Fourre said. “We responded by hiring numerous providers across Coastal Healthcare Alliance over the past four years, with a focus on primary care and pediatrics. This new facility gives them and the growing primary care team a space that empowers them to deliver the best care possible for our patients.”

Before the Health Center opened, PBMC’s primary care practices were scattered across several locations off campus. The new facility brings them under one roof. It will house Internal Medicine and Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Pediatric Physical and Occupational Therapy, Audiology and Speech Pathology, and the Ear, Nose and Throat practice. It also provides space where specialists from the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center can meet with patients in Rockport, reducing the need for children with special health needs to travel to Portland.

“The Health Center marks an important step forward for this community,” said PBMC chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Eggena. “It will improve the health care we bring to the community by making it easier for physicians and staff to collaborate and connect patients with the wellness, prevention and specialty services they need.”

Dr. Eggena described the Health Center as an especially safe place for patients to come for their health care during the pandemic. “The safety of patients and care team members is our first priority,” he said. “The pandemic has taught us that delaying care and routine screenings such a mammograms and colonoscopies out of fear of COVID-19 can lead to serious health complications.”

COVID-19 forced the hospital to change plans for the way it marked the opening. Instead of a large public celebration, PBMC held a series of small private ribbon cutting ceremonies, and all participants wore masks and maintained social distancing. A video of the event can be viewed on YouTube at