FARMINGTON – Franklin Health Access and Healthy Community Coalition are hosting a community forum to explain health access programs that assist businesses and residents of Greater Franklin County.

The forum wil be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, in the Ben Franklin Education Center at Franklin Memorial Hospital. Local residents and community leaders are welcome.

“Many small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees. This impacts employee recruitment and retention,” said Charlie Woodcock, director of Franklin Health Access. “This community forum will explain a new program that can help uninsured small businesses purchase DirigoChoice health insurance for employees.”

“Being uninsured means going without needed care,” added Woodcock. “It means minor illnesses become major ones because care is delayed. Tragically, it also means that one significant medical expense can wipe out a family’s life savings. There are local programs that can make a huge difference for uninsured and underinsured residents of this community.”

There are numerous programs to help businesses and people pay for health care. Franklin Community Health Network, the parent company of Franklin Memorial Hospital, will explain its health access programs.

In addition, Karynlee Harrington, executive director of the Dirigo Health Agency, will outline DirigoChoice health insurance, and Alison Hagerstrom, executive director of Greater Franklin Development Council, will explain a new local program that helps subsidize the costs of DirigoChoice for area uninsured local businesses.

Attendees will also receive information on MaineCare and Medicare, and can set up appointments to apply for local programs.

Local programs include Franklin Health Access, which the health network offers in partnership with HealthReach Community Health Centers and others.

The program connects uninsured and underinsured people with health services throughout Greater Franklin County.

The network also offers Contact for Care in which people may choose to volunteer for the hospital and the hospital writes off the bill. Patients have made quilts to hang on the hospital’s walls, gardened in the Hope Harvest Garden and made birdhouses for the hospital’s forest.

Other programs include Franklin Cares, which helps uninsured people receive medical services at the hospital, and the HealthCard program, which provides discounts at Franklin Community Health Network and more than 250 local businesses.

The Franklin DirigoChoice Incentive Program discounts the cost of DirigoChoice for uninsured local small businesses.

“Together with the partnership of local physicians, providers and our many community partners, Franklin Community Health Network continues its commitment to the uninsured,” said Leah Binder, vice president of Franklin Community Health Network. “This community forum will explain the local, state and national programs that can help the uninsured and underinsured.”

For more information about Franklin Community Health Network’s programs, visit or call Franklin Health Access at 779-2772 or 1-888-952-2772.

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