FREE employee exercise classes this winter

November 25th, 2013

exercise classes


Exercise Questionnaire


Under the guidance of our personal trainer, Mirja Pitkin, we will be offering an opportunity to do beginner exercises together each week. Your responses to this questionnaire will help us plan an exercise class that is appropriate for all participants.


Please wear clothes you can exercise in and bring a water bottle. Shoes are not necessary for this class (unless you have foot or arch concerns, in which case please carry in a pair of clean sneakers).


Please complete this form and return to Hester Kohl as soon as possible.  We will need this no later than one week before your first class. You can e-mail it to, fax it to 930-2569, drop it off at the hospital switchboard, or mail it to: Hester Kohl, WCGH, PO Box 287, Belfast, ME 04915.


Thank you!


Your name: _____________________________



Phone number: __________________________





1. Do you have old injuries or chronic issues with any of the following (circle yes or no). If yes, please explain briefly?


Feet:   Yes   No  ­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________


Ankles: Yes   No ___________________________________________________


Knees:  Yes   No ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________


Hips:    Yes   No ___________________________________________________


Back:    Yes   No ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________


Shoulders:   Yes   No ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ _________________________________________________


Neck:  Yes   No ­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________


Wrists/elbows: Yes   No _______________________________________________


Hands: Yes   No ­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________



Do you have any other physical conditions/issues you think could impact your participation in an exercise program?


Yes   No ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________________


2. Exercise history. Please briefly list exercise programs you have participated in, when that was, if you enjoyed it, and why you stopped, if you did.



3. What are you goals for participating in this program?




Email: to get a provider referral form.



Posted in Exercise, Healthy Living, Hospital News

Learn how to take control of your blood sugar

October 23rd, 2013

Do you or someone you care about have trouble controlling blood sugar levels? It is estimated that 40 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes do not achieve the blood sugar control target of an A1C less than 7 percent recommended by the American Diabetes Association.


On Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m., Kirk Kenyon, will put on a free educational program in the Education Center at Waldo County General Hospital. He will be talking from his personal experience of living with diabetes and will share diabetes self-management and lifestyle strategies that have worked for him.


Controlling your blood sugar may help reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications.


Among the topics Kenyon will cover are:

  • achieving good glucose control;
  • learning about effective self-management;
  • developing a balanced, healthy lifestyle;
  • planning and prioritizing diabetes management;
  • overcoming fears surrounding diabetes; and
  • finding resources for diabetes support.


Kenyon is a member of the A1C Champions© Program, which is a patient-led approach to diabetes education. The goal is to make sure people with diabetes know they are not alone and there are people like Kenyon who can help them along their journey with diabetes.


This is a free presentation, including a buffet dinner, but space is limited so pre-register by calling Barbara Crowley at 930-2650 or email:


Posted in Hospital News, In the Community, Managing your health

Learn about some healthier options for holiday meals

October 23rd, 2013



Looking for some healthier options for holiday meals? Waldo County General Hospital’s Journey to Health is offering free hands-on cooking classes from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Home Economics Room at the Troy Howard Middle School, 173 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast.


On Thursday, Nov. 7, the topic will be ‘Healthy Thanksgiving Sides” and on Thursday, Nov. 14, it will be “Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts.”


Space is limited so please register for one or both classes by Nov. 4. You may email: or call 930-2514.


Posted in Healthy Eating, Hospital News, In the Community

WCGH Aid blood drive is Friday

October 22nd, 2013

The Waldo County General Hospital Aid will sponsor its annual blood drive on Friday, Oct. 25, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge Hall (behind the Shrine Club) on the corner of Northport Avenue and Wight Street, Belfast.


All donors will be entered into a raffle for a $200 Visa gift card, courtesy of Suburban Propane.


To donate, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health, and show a valid I.D. You must also provide a list of any medications you are taking.


After donating, you will be provided with free snacks and a place to rest for about 15 minutes. The complete process from registration to relaxing at the canteen usually takes about an hour.


To make an appointment for the Oct. 25 blood drive or for more information, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit


Posted in Hospital News, In the Community, Uncategorized

Learn about “kitchen shares”

October 22nd, 2013



Would you like to enjoy Maine-grown organic fruits and vegetables all year long? Learn how you can with “kitchen shares.”


Based on the Community Supported Agriculture model, with kitchen shares you receive a share each month that includes an assortment of nine items from Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchen. She purchases farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from more than 40 Certified Organic Maine Farmers during the harvest season and then creates small batches of pasta and pizza sauces, condiments, jams, pickled vegetables, marinades, dressings and dry mixes.


There are currently pick-up locations in Bangor, Belfast, Blue Hill, Deer Isle, Ellsworth, Freeport, Portland, Rockport, Unity, Waterville and Yarmouth. And others can be added with a minimum of five shares per location.


The cost of the November to April kitchen share is $300 if you pick up and $390 for mail orders in Maine only.
To learn more about getting more Maine food on your plate, attend an informational meeting on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Waldo County YMCA, 157 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast.

Posted in Healthy Eating, Hospital News, In the Community, Uncategorized

Hospital adds pediatric PT

October 11th, 2013

Waldo County General Hospital’s Pediatric Occupational Therapy (OT) is now Pediatric OT and Physical Therapy (PT). It’s something Corissa Carter OTR/L, who oversees Pediatric OT and PT, has wanted since she started at Waldo County almost 3 years ago.


“It opens up so many doors for kids,” she says, adding that the hospitals with pediatric physical therapy within a reasonable driving distance all have waiting lists.


Steve Hoffman

Steve Hoffman


Pediatric physical therapists aren’t that easy to find and Carter had been looking for nearly a year when she found Steve Hoffman, who worked as a pediatric physical therapist in Ohio for more than 20 years. He had visited this area for vacation with his wife, a former journalist, on several occasions.


Hoffman, who started at Waldo County on August 5, has had 14 referrals and has already seen some good results. He works with children from infancy to 10 years of age.


The earlier he gets involved, the better the results will be, he says, explaining that treating conditions while a child is growing helps the child reach his or her potential. In fact, Hoffman has even worked with a number of premature infants and says they “respond quite well to physical therapy.”


When working with children, Hoffman prefers to work with the whole family. He says often an older sibling is most successful at getting the child to do his or her exercises.


Among the conditions that Hoffman treats in children are developmental delays, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Spina Bifida, Torticollis, toe-walking, prematurity, genetic disorders, orthopedic disorders and rare diseases. Hoffman can also assist with orthotics, wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment. One of the conditions he is seeing more of is Torticollis, which involves the head tilting to one side. Hoffman says it is “very treatable.”


Hoffman says he is looking forward to building up the pediatric program at Waldo County General Hospital. “It’s a great opportunity,” he says. “It’s fun to build a program.”


“I enjoy seeing my clients develop their functional mobility skills ranging from scooting and crawling to independence with a mobile stander or wheelchair to walking, running and jumping with their peers,” he says. Hoffman has experience in adapting donated wheelchairs and equipment for clients who need assistance and those awaiting funding for permanent adaptive equipment.


Hoffman was also a long-time volunteer with Special Olympics in Ohio.

Posted in Hospital News, New Staff, October 2013 InPulse

CEO praises employees, outlines challenges

October 11th, 2013

   At a recent series of meetings with hospital employees, Mark Biscone, Executive Director of Waldo County General Hospital, praised the night shift at the hospital for the great way they responded to a recent high profile case in Belfast. He said the victim was stabilized and transferred by Lifeflight to Bangor within 35 minutes.


   He also told employees the hospital “is in strong shape financially to go through all the changes facing us.” In fact, he said WCGH is in the strongest financial shape of most, if not all, of the hospitals in the State. “We are not borrowing to meet our expenses and we only have $6 million in bond debt,” he said.


   He also pointed out the hospital’s low employee turnover rate, 9 percent compared to the industry average of almost twice that, and an administrative overhead of only 9 percent.


   Despite that rosy assessment, Biscone said the hospital’s 2014 budget is expected to have an operating gain of only 1.7%, (without employee pay increases-about half of the normal margin over the past 10 years of 3.3%.

Currently for every $1 of charges, the first 40 cents is written off due to discounted payments from the federal and state government, commercial insurance discounts and for charity care and bad debt cases. That leaves 60 cents to cover expenses and create the operating gain.


   There has also been a dramatic rise in uncompensated medical care. In 2007, charity care and bad debt was $2.4 million; for 2013, it is $10.7 million; and it is expected to hit $11 million in 2014.


   Still, he added, “We are in the black when most of the hospitals in the State are not and the growth of our charges is in the lowest one-third.” And he praised hospital employees for helping that to happen. “You are our greatest asset and we thank you for all you have done and continue to do!”


   Biscone then outlined a series of additional risks that he sees coming in the next five years;


   •  instead of hospitals being compensated for a percentage of the services provided, reimbursements are going to be “quality and outcome” driven, which is a major change;

   •  experts are predicting that during the next 10 years, one-third of acute care hospitals will close or merge and the reason is the continuing decline in reimbursements. “I don’t know if Obamacare is going to help or not, the regulations are still being written,” he said;

   •  the growth in the elderly population (who generally require much more medical care) is a big concern; and

   •  a new federal report from the OIG found that as many as 70 percent of current Critical Access Hospitals do not meet the federal CAH guidelines, which places them in jeopardy of losing their CAH designation.


   Biscone said he and the Board are “looking at new ways of bringing more services into the hospital.” Among the new services being looked at to see if they are financially feasible are a retail pharmacy, pain management clinic and alternative care services.


   In other comments, Biscone said:


   •  he anticipates the State is going to pay back our hospital for services provided from 2009 to 2012. He added, however, that the new 2-year State budget reduced reimbursements for our hospital to the tune of $3 million;

   •  the 2014 fiscal year budget does not include pay increases for employees but the Board has agreed to assess our hospital’s fiscal position and may give up to a 2 percent increase in April;

   •  rates may need to be changed for some services. Last year, the hospital looked at its imaging rates and this year will be giving a closer look at lab services as commercial insurance companies are steering their clients to the lowest cost for services;

   •  the new electronic patient records system, EPIC, will be implemented here next summer. He said implementing the system at Maine Medical Center was difficult but “lessons were learned and there is new leadership.” He said we need to implement EPIC to improve the continuity of care and meet quality reporting requirements;

   •  there have been system-wide consolidations at MaineHealth of the Information Systems and Human Resources departments from the member hospitals. We are also sharing some doctors, a department manager, some staff, and services with PenBay, which is saving us money; and Lincoln County Home Healthcare is providing administrative services for Waldo County Home Healthcare Services.

   •  the recruitment of doctors is going well and we are likely to have new ones onboard soon, including a hospitalist and an orthopedist. We have also signed a contract with Dr. Shane Lydon, a general surgeon; Dr. Sidney Block, a rheumatologist, will start here in January; and a new anesthesiologist, Dr. Gowesky, will be here in mid-October.

Posted in Hospital News, October 2013 InPulse

Get your mammogram; free for uninsured and underinsured

October 11th, 2013

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and a perfect reminder that early detection can save lives. Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests.


Get in touch with your doctor today to set up a mammogram. It’s especially important because these screenings may find tumors too small to feel.


Waldo County General Hospital is offering free screening mammograms for women who are uninsured or underinsured on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 930-2594 or 930-2553 for more information or to schedule your appointment.


Kimberly Lenfestey, the hospital’s breast navigator, will meet with those receiving the free screening mammograms to try to aid the women in finding a program to help pay for their mammograms.

Posted in Hospital News, In the Community, October 2013 InPulse

Hospital adds new state-of-the-art cardiac patient monitoring system

October 11th, 2013


Waldo County General Hospital has a new cardiac patient monitoring system that is getting rave reviews. Part 1 is a screen that sits beside the patient’s bed and shows all vital signs in bright, easy to read numbers along with the patient’s heart rhythms.


The new cardiac monitoring system has a large screen with easy to read vitals and heart rhythms. The little box under it, which weighs less than three pounds, just has to be unplugged to follow the patients from department to department.

The new cardiac monitoring system has a large screen with easy to read vitals and heart rhythms. The little box under it, which weighs less than three pounds, just has to be unplugged to follow the patients from department to department.


The system allows a nurse to hit a button every 15 minutes for the first two hours after surgery and the results can be viewed on a computer screen at the nurses’ station, instead of having to disturb the patient.


Under the screen is Part 2, a small box that records patient data and follows the patient from department to department. It is especially helpful for a patient that may come to the hospital in the Emergency Department and then is transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the inpatient Medical Surgical Unit, the post-surgery recovery area, the Women and Infants Health Care Unit and/or the Radiology Dept.


The small box only weighs 2.7 pounds. “It’s portable and a very handy little box,” said an ICU nurse.


Besides accompanying a patient through the hospital, all the data in the system can be printed when a patient is discharged and put in his or her chart.


“This is the latest technology and it will interface with the new computer system that will be installed in the future,” said Stephanie Mitchell, RN, BSN, who is the Nurse Manager for MSU and ICU. “It’s the best—very user friendly and a great upgrade.”


Mitchell and Gail Dudley, RN, who is the Nurse Manager for Perioperative Services, facilitated the selected selection of the new system with input from their nursing staff and physicians.


When the system first went on line in mid-August, there were some kinks to work out, but now caregivers like the easy to see numbers on the patient screen. “They are nice and big and can even be enlarged if need be,” said one ICU nurse.


The nurse at the ICU desk can watch the cardiac monitoring units for patients in the ICU and on the main patient floor.

The nurse at the ICU desk can watch the cardiac monitoring units for patients in the ICU and on the main patient floor.


Nurses in the ICU are also able to monitor the patient screens of their own cardiac patients and also the cardiac patients on the main patient floor.

Posted in Hospital News, October 2013 InPulse

Doctors compete in National Boatbuilding Competition

October 11th, 2013


As one of his last duties for the hospital, anethesiologist David Arnold D.O., above left, teamed up with orthopedic surgeon Owen Nelson M.D. in the National Boatbuilding Competition as part of the Belfast Harbor Fest in mid-August. Nelson, a former winner in the competition, and Arnold called themselves “We Knees.” They were the 4th team to finish the construction of their skiff, 4th in the quality of building construction, and 3rd in the rowing competition for an overall 4th.

Posted in Hospital News, In the Community, October 2013 InPulse

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