LEWISTON — Patients will now be asked to preregister for appointments with their family doctor — confirming insurance, mailing addresses and other information over the phone — if that doctor’s office is part of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. 

Earlier this year, St. Mary’s began switching its primary care and family practices from federally-qualified health centers to departments of the hospital. As health centers, the practices were overseen by their own board. As part of the hospital, they are overseen by the hospital’s board and must follow the hospital’s rules and paperwork guidelines.

One of those guidelines requires doctors’ offices to preregister people, asking patients to confirm insurance information, mailing addresses, contact information and other basic information when someone from the office calls to remind the patient of an upcoming appointment.

Doctors’ offices also now give patients the choice of paying their co-pay when they check in for their appointment or waiting until the appointment is over. In the past, patients had to wait until the appointment was over. 

The changes, which began earlier this year and are now complete, affect the 33,000 to 35,000 patients who use the 12 St. Mary’s primary care and family practices, including Women’s Health Associates. The changes also affect St. Mary’s Surgical Associates. 

The changes do not affect the B Street Health Center, school-based health centers, dental or behavioral services. Those remain health centers.


St. Mary’s spokeswoman Jennifer Radel said the changes, particularly preregistration, should result in better customer service.

“It’s best practice,” she said. “It’s just easier for the patients. It’s better for us because that way we’re just ensuring we have all the information that we need when they come in; they don’t have to provide that. We’re all ready to take care of them.”

Some of Central Maine Medical Center’s doctors’ offices do preregistration and some do not, depending on the needs of the patients they serve, a spokesman said. CMMC’s greater Lewiston-Auburn practices are departments of the hospital.


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