Mark Biscone, President & Chief Executive Officer of Waldo County Healthcare and Pen Bay Healthcare, was honored recently by the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2014 Citizen of the Year. The award is voted on by the community.
Biscone has been with Waldo County Healthcare for more than 35 years. He was named the Executive Director of Waldo County General Hospital in March 1983, after working for nearly five years as the controller. Prior to that, he had worked at a hospital in Schenectady, NY.
Biscone oversaw a major expansion of services and specialty practices, from a renal dialysis unit to an in-hospital Hospice wing along with five rural health centers; building Penobscot Shores; and taking over the Belfast Public Health Nursing Association. More recently he completed a new operating suite; a sleep lab; a helicopter landing pad and an anticoagulation clinic.
All of this was accomplished at a time when federal regulations were leading to increased consolidation in the healthcare field and the closure of many small hospitals across the country. Waldo County was one of only a few Maine hospitals to consistently maintain a black bottom line.
But being in the black didn’t come from cutting the quality of patient care. Waldo County was awarded the prestigious Leapfrog Award in 2009 and in this year alone was named to iVantage’s 2014 “Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals” in the United States and also as one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s 2014 “100 Great Community Hospitals” nationally.
When asked earlier this year to add to his duties at Waldo County by becoming the interim Chief Executive Officer of Pen Bay Healthcare, he didn’t hesitate. More work, certainly, but also a challenge and an opportunity to collaborate to provide the highest quality care in the region.
Biscone isn’t all work and no play. He enjoys working on the farm that he and wife Barb are creating. He is also actively involved with Rotary, especially with the 100 Fund Project, which provides clothing and toys to the 100 neediest children in the area each Christmas.
Concussion program at Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center can help
The Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast has treated many athletes and have now added concussion management to their list of services offered. In the past few years as the emphasis on concussions has increased, school nurses and coaches have gotten better at recognizing and testing for concussions. No longer do you hear “he just got his bell rung” and after sitting out for a play or two he is put back in to play again.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. It occurs when the brain is shaken into the skull, causing changes in the way the brain functions. A concussion may happen as a result of a direct blow to the head or an indirect force such as a whiplash.
Many times the symptoms disappear with rest. But no two concussions are the same and sometimes the symptoms last for weeks or even months. This is when a physical therapist or an occupational therapist can help. Either can perform an examination to assess the individual’s symptoms and limitations and then design an individualized treatment program.
Physical therapists or occupational therapists can help with:
No one should return to sport or vigorous activity while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present. Experts recommend that an athlete with a suspected concussion not return to play until he or she has been medically checked out by a health care professional trained in evaluating and managing concussions. Experts also recommend that all athletes with a concussion not return to play on the same day as the injury.
David Orsmond, PT, CVT and Moriah Grant, OT, CVT are the concussion treatment team at Waldo County General Hospital. They are both certified vestibular therapists who treat mild brain injuries. Grant is also finishing up her certification in craniosacral therapy, a light touch therapy that manipulates membranes within the nervous system to restore their normal function. Dysfunction of these membranes can contribute to headaches.
Among the other therapies available at the Concussion Management Program are manual therapy for neck and back pain and functional training which involves an individualized program of specific exercises that address the demands of your sport or work and help you regain your physical abilities as quickly as possible.
Patients in the Concussion Management Program have already seen some tremendous results, in some cases in only a few treatments. Ongoing therapy may be needed in other cases. The length of the treatment is affected by both the severity of the concussion, the patient’s history, and possible number of previous concussions suffered by the patient.
The Concussion Management Program only sees patients who have a referral from their doctor. And they work closely with and make referrals, if necessary, to ear, nose and throat specialists, audiologists, speech therapists, neurologists, neuropsychologists and optometrists.
Call 338-4666 for more information.
The annual Silver Tea, sponsored by the Waldo County General Hospital Aid, will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 2 – 5 p.m. at the home of Philip and Mary Carthage, 224 High Street (on the corner of Primrose and High Street), Belfast. The public is invited to attend and enjoy the sandwiches and desserts served by Aid members. Drinks will include punch, coffee and tea served from silver services.
This year’s setting is a Greek-revival style home built in 1851 for Calvin Hervey, a watch maker and jewelry store owner. Mr. Hervey was one of the original trustees of the Belfast Free Library.
Guests will be welcomed by a dramatic entryway and original woodwork in the entry. In 2005, while the owners were away, a water pipe broke and flooded the kitchen area at the back of the house. This had been remodeled in a modern style although the fireplace surround is made of old doors that Mr. Carthage salvaged from another historical house in town. The kitchen floor boards were reused in the entryway.
Rooms on both floors will be open to tour. A built-in glass case on the second floor displays items found in the house, such as a Knights of Pythias uniform belonging to Col. Ben Lowe.
There is no admission charge to attend the tea, but donations will be accepted. All funds raised from the tea will benefit the hospital.
The winning tickets for the Aid’s holiday raffle “Spotlighting our Outlying Communities” will be drawn at the tea. The available prizes include gift certificates to stores, restaurants and entertainment venues in the towns where Waldo County Healthcare health centers are located. Tickets are on sale at $1 each or 6 for $5 at the hospital gift shop.
For more information, call 930-6739. The snow date for the tea is the next day, Thursday, Dec. 11, at the same time.
Coastal Maine Center for Breast Health, part of the radiology department at Waldo County General Hospital, is now a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence, the highest level of certification by the National Quality Measures for Breast Cancer (NQMBC).
“This is a marker for us; a recognition for the community,” says Dr. Nancy Webb, a radiologist who has specialized in women’s breast health for the past 15 years. “We wanted the community to know that we do quality work.”
Getting that designation was the result of efforts and support by a number of people. First, there was the task force of all those involved with breast health, including surgeons, primary care doctors and oncology staff. That formed four years ago. The goal was to coordinate efforts and to get recognition for the quality work that was taking place.
The group wanted to compare its efforts with those of similar sized hospitals and NQMBC seemed the way to do that based on its mission “to empower breast centers of all types and sizes with the ability to measure and improve quality of care provided to breast center patients.” They do that by identifying quality care measures, providing immediate access to information and allowing breast centers to compare their performance with other centers across the United States.
In January 2007, Dr. Webb returned to WCGH where she was a staff radiologist from 1995-1998. She had spent several of the intervening years as Director of Women’s Imaging for The Breast Care Center and Cape Cod Radiology Associates in Hyannis, Mass. In March 2007, the Imaging Department upgraded its mammography to digital. That was done, not because of the task force which hadn’t even formed yet, but because, according to Ann Hooper RTR(M), head of the Imaging Department, “We were keeping up with good techniques and standards of care.”
Ann Hooper and Dr. Webb recognized that the department was “already doing most of the things it needed to do to be a Center of Excellence” so they pushed to increase the quality a little bit and to get the recognition the department deserved.
In March 2011, Ann Hooper RTR(M) and Dr. Webb headed to the 21st annual National Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference in Arizona. When they returned, Hooper was a certified Breast Cancer Navigator and Dr. Webb had completed an Assuring Quality Breast Program.
In June 2011, Kim Lenfestey, LMSW, was hired as the Hospital’s first Breast Care Navigator. In that position she helps breast cancer patients and their families to navigate through the maze of healthcare options, from diagnosis to survivorship. She is also available for support to women who are fearful of developing breast cancer based on family history. She has been instrumental in providing Telegenetic counseling for all oncology patients at the Hospital.
Another member of the mammography team is Danielle Wight, RTR(M), the radiology team leader for mammography. She is responsible for keeping the necessary data for NQMBC and making sure all state regulations are adhered to. Mammography is heavily regulated and a recent state inspection found absolutely no problems, which is unusual. Hooper says. “Not even any little dings. That’s Danielle. It really is a team.”
For her part, Danielle says, “I’m proud to be part of a team that does such a good job and is recognized for quality care.” She helps Dr. Webb coordinate education sessions with the nine registered mammography technicians in the imaging department to keep them up to date on any proposed changes and to reinforce good techniques.
Other members of the team include Radiologists Dr. Gregory Grotz and Dr. Tom Jones, the general surgeons and the oncology department. Hooper says they are also fortunate to have the support of the administration to work toward becoming a Center of Excellence.
“I’m proud to have this certification,” says Hooper. “It reinforces that we provide a community service and gives us good accountability.”
On May 3 the Hospital Aid held a successful spring yard sale, raising S2,030.
In mid-March, the Hospital began its partnership with Advanced ICU Care. After an exhaustive search, the Hospital chose Advanced ICU Care to provide eICU intensivist and RN monitoring and coverage for our ICU patients.
Advanced ICU Care is the single largest independent company providing eICU services in the nation. Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Kent Clark, said, “We chose to partner with this company because of their excellence in clinical outcomes, ability to provide 24/7 intensivist monitoring and coverage, and their collaborative approach to patient management. Advanced ICU Care is dedicated to providing our clinicians with high quality consultative services while working to complement your approach to patient care.”
He also thanked the medical staff for their patience and support over the past six months as the Hospital worked to find the best eICU solution for us, our clinicians, staff, and ICU patients.
Fourth graders in RSU 20 recently attended “Good Health, Good Choices,” a program focused on keeping young people tobacco free for life.