Bill Caron, CEO of MaineHealth, told managers at Waldo County Healthcare that the goal of the non-profit healthcare organization is to “keep care as close to home as possible within quality and cost-effective considerations.”
That requires determining what care belongs in every community. For example, while there needs to be cardiologists in each MaineHealth community, it isn’t cost efficient to perform angioplasty at every community hospital and open heart surgery should be performed at the organization’s tertiary hospital, Maine Medical Center. After recovery from the surgery though, the patient needs to be able to access follow-up care and preventative programs close to home.
In the process of building the model for the next generation of healthcare, an ad hoc committee was formed to review MaineHealth’s current structure and governance models and to recommend any changes to the MaineHealth Board of Trustees.
That committee returned at the end of 2014 with a number of recommendations. Those included:
1. Geographic Centers of Care: Maintain our current de-centralized, shared governance model while aligning or consolidating administrative, clinical, or governance structures in member organizations
2. Service Lines: Build our care delivery approach on standard, evidenced-based care models
3. Financial Strategies: Implement new financial management strategies to support service line development and management of system wide service lines
4. Physician Engagement & Leadership: Create a coherent, system-wide organizing structure to support physician engagement, leadership and participation
5. Board Leadership Council: Establish a Board Leadership Council
6. Reporting Relationships: No change should be made to the current operational reporting structures between MaineHealth and its member organizations
7. Community Outreach & Engagement: Invest in active, sustained outreach and engagement across and within all MaineHealth communities
Caron said following those recommendations should result in being able to move funds from administration to the clinical side, which is needed because of the increased medical needs of baby boomers.
He said we also need to be more proactive in educating our communities about how healthcare is changing and why. Doing that, he said, will help our communities to trust that we are doing things for the right reasons.
Caron said Waldo County is fortunate that its collaboration talks with Pen Bay Healthcare are not about taking services away but rather enhancing the services we can provide here by sharing specialty providers. The current discussions will result in changes to governance and administration, he said.
In a series of community and employee meetings, CEO Mark Biscone said he anticipates the Board of Trustees collaboration committee will return by June with a full set of recommendations. Biscone said the drive to collaborate is necessary because of declining rates of reimbursements, a disproportionate growth of Medicare and Medicaid populations, new incentives to decrease consumption and consumer choice and transparency.
Much of the collaboration is directed toward sharing specialists, sharing administrators, and combining support services.
Waldo County General Hospital has a new patient that medical personnel can practice on. SimMan, short for “simulation mannequin” is an adult-sized, patient simulation training tool that mimics human behavior. He can breathe, move, has a pulse and audible heartbeats, lung sounds and bowels. His lungs can collapse and he can stop breathing. His eyes move and blink and he can even talk with the help of a nearby computer.
“I can’t breathe,” “My chest hurts,” “I’m dizzy,” “Doc, I feel like I could die,” “Give me something for the pain,” and “I’ve going to vomit,” are some of the feelings expressed by SimMan.
SimMan is in a new skills lab at the hospital and ideal for providing training opportunities for personnel from almost every level of medical providers.
In fact, it was during training for members of the hospital’s Code Team last summer that it became obvious that the hospital needed to update its training equipment. “We were looking at several options,” says Kent Clark, MD, Chief Medical Officer at the hospital. “While the SimMan was something we were definitely interested in, the cost of purchasing this equipment was prohibitive.”
But then, Deece Ruggles RN, of Nursing Education, received word that Pen Bay Healthcare was in the process of updating their simulation equipment, including their SimMan. “We approached them about the possibility of allowing us to buy their used equipment. Pen Bay was amenable to this and we purchased the SimMan at an affordable cost,” says Dr. Clark.
“The SimMan allows us to train our staff in an environment that more realistically reflects actual clinical scenarios. The SimMan and its accompanying software allow us to practice emergency procedural skills, including CPR, intubation, and defibrillation; improve rhythm recognition and interpretation; and run realistic practice code scenarios,” adds Dr. Clark.
Ruggles says, in addition to training for current employees, SimMan can also be used for nursing orientations and with new nursing graduates.
A two-day collectible sale is planned for the lifetime collection of one owner to benefit the Waldo County General Hospital Aid. The large collection includes many dolls ranging from porcelain baby dolls to Shirley Temple dolls, Effanbee Patsy dolls, and dolls from around the world including Russia, Japan and Scandinavia, most in pristine condition.
Timeless Treasures collectibles include a large porcelain doll named Vanessa with long red hair, an elaborate light green evening dress with fur hat and stole from 2003. Katherine, from 2002, has long blonde hair with handmade clothes in a 1970s style. Accessories range from doll clothing, trunks and furniture to tea sets, marbles, Christmas and seasonal items.
Animals are represented by wooden cats and Barrington, Dakin and Paddington bears in various sizes. Six framed Christmas prints by Belfast folk artist, Misko Willis, are also for sale.
This sale will offer something for everyone from the beginner to the distinguished collector looking for that special item at a reasonable price. Also a great opportunity for the early Christmas shopper or the collector of Christmas related items such as snowmen.
The sale will be held on Friday, April 17, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 18, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 23 Mill Lane, in East Belfast.
Waldo County General Hospital instituted zero-sort recycling on March 2.
There are green bins around the hospital into which recyclable materials—cardboard, non-confidential paper, plastic, glass and cans—can be deposited.
The green bins are dumped into a 40-yard container that is picked up every other week or so and taken to the Casella plant in Lewiston where a big sorting machine automatically separates the recyclables. There are also blue bins for confidential paper (shredded) and small black bins for non-recyclable trash.
Rob Fowler RN, Chief Quality Officer at the hospital, says options for recycling at the hospital have been discussed for the last several years with “single sort” always on the radar. “We could never seem to figure out the logistics as space for a compactor is not available. This year, we decided we were going to make it happen and we consulted Casella to figure out how.”
Fowler adds, “Implementing a hospital-wide recycling program is the right thing to do on so many levels and I was excited to be part of the launch in March and our staff is, too. As we all know, recycling plays an important role in protecting the environment and as a member of the community, we have a responsibility to participate and do our part.”
Rob Fowler RN, Chief Quality Officer at Waldo County Healthcare, has been named a Superhero by the MaineHealth WOW! program.
His decision to change his lifestyle came after viewing a video on the hospital website about two of his co-workers who started using a workout called T25. “They made a lifestyle change, and it was then that I realized I needed to make one, too,” he says.
Rob made the decision to start running: he lost more than 20 pounds when he started running three to six miles every day—for 95 straight days. The result, according to Rob, is that he has more energy and handles stress better and he’s been told that he looks better, too.
Rob isn’t running every day now but he is still exercising and on those days when he just doesn’t feel like doing it, his results keep him going, especially now that his three children have noticed. He says the kids asked his wife a few weeks ago, “What happened to Papa?” and that makes him happy.
Rob encourages others who want to lose weight to focus on making lifestyle changes that they can incorporate into their life rather than going with fad diets and short-term fixes, adding “It may be the best decision of your life.”
Due to the high level of flu and pertussis (whooping cough) in our community, Waldo County General Hospital is imposing temporary visitor restrictions in the Women and Infants Health Care Unit. Newborn babies are at high risk of serious illness from these diseases.
The restrictions are as follows:
• Children under the age of 18 may not visit unless they are siblings of a newborn
• Visitors who are feeling ill or have signs of a respiratory infection (cough, sore throat, fever) will not be able to visit.
• Children, who are allowed to visit, are asked to not visit any other patient rooms.
Moriah Grant, OT, CVT, an occupational therapist and the driving force behind the creation of the Concussion Management Program at Waldo County Healthcare, has been named to the board of the Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI).
Skip Philbrook, PT, clinical manager of Rehabilitation Services at Waldo County General Hospital, is pleased that Grant has been appointed to the MCMI board of directors. “She has done an exceptional job spearheading our Concussion Management Program, and her appointment will keep us up to date on the very latest research information and treatment techniques for patients with concussion. This allows our center to be at the forefront of treatment facilities in this fast changing and expanding field,” says Philbrook.
MCMI, now five years old, is dedicated to improving the safety of Maine’s youth by increasing awareness and education on concussion management and is a pioneer in concussion research and education outreach.
Grant is excited to be getting involved with MCMI. “I feel privileged to begin working directly with the founders and board members of the Maine Concussion Management Initiative. Through my research concerning concussion, I have become very passionate about recognition, management and treatment of people of all ages that suffer from concussion. I am so excited to assist with furthering our knowledge about these areas and to expand my abilities to help other professionals and my patients. As an occupational therapist, I feel like my perspective will assist in developing treatment strategies and promoting awareness. There is so much to learn about concussion. I feel like we are just scraping the surface and I am ready to help dig,” says Grant.
Grant and David Orsmond, PT, CVT, are the concussion treatment team at the hospital and are both certified vestibular therapists who treat mild brain injuries. Grant is also certified 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.
Grant and Orsmond treat patients who are referred to them because their concussion symptoms did not disappear with rest and have lasted for longer than expected. They can help to stop dizziness and improve balance; reduce headaches, decrease neck and/or back pain, and help patients return to work or sport. They also make referrals, if necessary, to various specialists.
Jon Landers of Belfast has been volunteering at the Game Loft for about a year and in October he helped children in grades 3-6 with a hobbit adventure. He enjoyed being outside with the youngsters, running around and assisting them to complete the quests they were presented with. What he didn’t know was that he was helping those participants meet the goals of Let’s Go! Waldo 5-2-1-0.
That changed when Jon attended a celebration dinner Let’s Go! Waldo was having at the Waldo County Technical Center. At that dinner, as he described the hobbit adventure, he realized he had been helping the children get at least 1 hour of physical exercise, limiting their recreational screen time to less than 2 hours, keeping them from drinking sugary drinks and helping them get toward the goal of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Jon says he had heard of the 5-2-1-0 slogan before; he and the participants were doing what they should be doing; and the principles are something he agrees with, but he hadn’t really thought of the hobbit adventure in that way.
He also didn’t know when he agreed to go to the dinner with Ray and Pat Estabrook, the creators and facilitators for the Game Loft, that the food was going to be all vegetarian. But the high school freshman says the meal was delicious and he asked for the recipes so he could duplicate the meals at home. Among the dishes was roasted spaghetti squash, flavored with garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese; roasted beets and carrots with cardamom and pepper; and maple poached pear with spiced syrup reduction.
The experience has gotten Jon excited about possibly attending the Tech Center in the culinary program. He’s also pleased to know that without really intending to, the children who attended the hobbit adventure were working toward developing healthier habits.
The fact that Game Loft programs met the goals of 5-2-1-0 isn’t really surprising when you consider their mission is to provide “a safe, supervised location for local youth to play games with friends, engage with the community, and eat a healthy meal.” In fact, the Game Loft is a registered Let’s Go! Waldo out of school site.
Receiving awards at the dinner for their work with Let’s Go! were:
Darby’s held a fundraiser for the Waldo County General Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab Phase 3 Scholarship Fund on Fat Tuesday. Above, enjoying their dinner were, from left, Gail Dudley RN, operating room director; Nicole Kenney RN, ICU nursing director; Donna Poulin RN, informatics; Pam Sprague RN, MSU nurse director; and Lisa Sirois, MSU clinical coordinator. At left, handing out Mardi Gras beads as diners entered were, from left, Mary Hanrahan RN, nurse manager
Nancy Soule of Liberty recently celebrated her 100th infusion of Tysabri, which helps her lessen the effects of her multiple sclerosis. It was also a big day for a young woman about half Soule’s age. After Nancy’s celebration broke up, the young woman entered the infusion therapy center for her first dose of Tysabri. With all the warnings she’d been given about the drug, the woman was clearly nervous. Talking with Nancy about her positive experience (no relapses or new lesions on her brain), clearly made the woman feel better.