Frequently Asked Questions

Health care services

What is a nurse practitioner?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses with advanced graduate clinical education and training. They are sometimes referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). Taking a holistic approach that emphasizes preventative care, NPs play an increasingly vital role in providing primary health care to a variety of populations including: children, adults, geriatrics, acutely ill individuals as well as those with mental illness. NPs can diagnose and manage most common and many chronic illnesses just like a PA or MD. They are authorized to perform physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, provide counseling and education, and write prescriptions. NPs have prescriptive privileges of varying degrees depending on each state's nursing practice act. In Maine, certified NPs must work under the supervision of a licensed physician or a qualified independent NP or must be employed by a clinic or hospital that has a medical director who is a licensed physician for at least 24 months before becoming eligible for independent practice which Ms. Theriault has completed.

What is a scribe?

Family Focused Health Care uses scribes to facilitate more efficient documentation of office visits. Scribes transcribe your complaints, the provider's exam and help order and arrange referrals and follow up testing.

What is a Medical Assistant?

MAs have to complete training in both clinical and administrative medicine. Their coursework includes medical terminology, anatomy, phlebotomy and even billing and coding. After their completed classroom work they are required to rotate in a clinical setting. Finally they qualify for certification by taking an exam. They are required to complete continuing ongoing education to maintain certification.

What is a Physician's Assistant?

A PAs education begins with a bachelor's degree in a medically related field after which they continue both classroom and clinical coursework to obtain a masters degree. The masters program for PA includes a 12 months of clinical rotations in multiple settings including the hospital and outpatient practices. After graduating they take a lisencing exam and obtain a state license and they step into practice where they continue training in an apprentice-like situation. Their supervising provider oversees patient care very closely initially- much like how physicians complete residency.

Over time, they practice more independently as deemed appropriate by their supervising provider. They can work in clinics, nursing homes, emergency rooms and hospitals. They work in primary care and specialty practices. They evaluate, diagnose and treat both acute and chronic illness. They apply for DEA numbers just like physicians and prescribe medications. They are a recognized provider for nearly all private and federally funded insurance companies. PAs are required to continue medical education throughout their careers in order to remain certified. If you would like more information about PA's please see:

What can our PA (Monica) do?

Monica is a certified PA who has been practicing with Dr. Caron since 2013. She is trained in primary care for children and adults which means she manages both acute and chronic medical issues. She performs minor oupatient procedures such as skin biopsies, laceration repairs, IUD placement and removals. She does not initate prescriptions for scheduled medications (such as methadone, morphine and stimulants) though she works closely with Dr Caron when such medications are needed and can provide continued scripts once patients are stable on these medications. She carries her own panel of primary care patients comanaging complex issues with Dr Caron. She works with Dr Caron to provide care for our patients in the local nursing homes as well as those working with local hospice programs.

What is our relationship with MGMC?

Both our providers have outpatient privlidges at MGMC which means we can easily order lab and radiology tests through MGMC. We can also order infusions and transfusions through the infusion clinic at MGMC. Dr Caron has admission privileges on the obstetric and newborn services. Our patients who need admission to the hospital are admitted by the MGMC hospitalist service. We use a variety of consultants to help provide specialty care which includes providers affilicated with MGMC when this is appropriate but also includes providers from a variety of other hospital systems including:Inland, Maine Medical Partners, Central Maine Medical Center and Mercy.