“There’s more to life than getting out of bed. There has to be more than that.” These were Kay Hunter’s words to live by when she was a patient under the Bangor Beacon Community grant. Patients like Hunter and health care providers met today at the Spectacular Event Center in Bangor to celebrate the success of the federally funded program.”I’m so proud to be a part of that. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me. I’m a nurse. I care about people. I care about this community,” said Jessica Taylor, Clinical Lead for the Nurse Care Managers at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Bangor was one of seventeen sites nationwide that received a grant three years ago for over 12 million dollars from the federal government. “Before the grant there were different entities of health care in the Bangor area, different hospitals and organizations, that worked to help the community, but separately,” said Taylor. Now local health care providers work together with a focus on chronically ill patients to prevent unexpected hospital visits–helping patients like Hunter who was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2011. “The care manager I worked with, Colleen, was incredible, and was very affirming. Got me back on my feet. Back to work in three months. I’m very, very please with the program,” said Hunter. But what happens when the federal funding stops at the end of this month? “All the groundwork that we’ve done with the beacon grant is going to continue,” said Taylor, whose hospital is a part of the program. Health care providers from the Bangor area hope to continue thier collaborative efforts through a new program. They want to deliver higher quality, yet more affordable healthcare to the people of central, eastern, and northern Maine.”I think this is an incredible perk of the community and it’s incredible that we have such visionary people who are working for health care on our behalf,” said Hunter. For more information about the Bangor Beacon Community program: bangorbeaconcommunity.org/default.aspx.For information about the future of health care after the Bangor Beacon Community program ends: emhsdifferenceincare.org.