The Journey to Health program at Waldo County General Hospital is offering a sampling of different dancing and exercising styles from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays through the winter at the Belfast Dance Studio.
The dances are easy, fun, good exercise and FREE, with no experience necessary. Come give it a try!
For the month of January, the classes will be:
Let’s Go! Waldo 5-2-1-0 held a recognition dinner recently to “celebrate the accomplishments and contributions to the community” of 48 childcare, school, afterschool and healthcare sites in Waldo County. Of those sites, 31 were designed as sites of distinction and 17 were honored for being well on their way to becoming sites of distinction.
The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce obesity among young people through advocating for children to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, limiting recreational screen time to 2 hours a day, providing for 1 hour or more of physical activity per day and cutting out all sugary drinks.
To address the policies, practices, and environments that influence healthy lifestyle behaviors, the program uses these 10 strategies:
Dr. Tory Rogers, who is the director of the Let’s Go program, said after coming up with the program eight years ago, it is now in all 16 counties and there are 1,000 sites across the state, all with the same consistent 5-2-1-0 message.
Dr. Rogers asked the audience for some examples of initiatives they have taken to help advance the goals of the program. Among those listed were:
“This is little stuff but that is what it takes,” said Dr. Rogers. “We got in the mess over four or five decades and it takes time, but tastes are changing.” She said she was in Damariscotta recently and the children were taking kale chips for lunch and in a visit to a school garden, a young student brought her a bouquet of Swiss Chard, gave it to her and said with pride, “We grew this.”
She said, “The kids are doing this and pulling the adults along.”
In addition to the awards to sites, Barbara Crowley, RN, a Waldo County General Hospital employee who oversees the Let’s Go! Waldo 5-2-1-0 awarded four special awards to those who have gone over and above with the program in each of the four categories. The award winners were:
Another special award went to Rusty Emmerton, who has been a volunteer in the afterschool program in Searsport for nine years. He is known for his “I can” attitude and his advice to students: “You can do anything you want to but only if you set your mind to it.”
Receiving childcare awards were Grammie’s Child Care in Belfast; First Steps in Belfast; Cindy’s Daycare in Liberty; Waldo Community Action Partners in Belfast and Northport Head Start; Starrett’s Children’s Center in Belfast; Belfast Area Children’s Center in Waldo and Ames Pre-K Boardreach Family and Community Services in Searsmont.
Named as sites of distinction in the afterschool category were the 21st Century afterschool programs in Morrill and Searsmont, Swanville, Searsport Elementary and Middle School; and Frankfort.
Winners in the school class were Monroe Elementary, Troy Central School, Mt. View High School in Thorndike, Ames Elementary in Searsmont, Captain Albert Stevens School in Belfast; East Belfast; Drinkwater Elementary in Northport, Frankfort Elementary, Weymouth Elementary in Morrill, Nickerson Elementary in Swanville; Searsport Elementary, and Stockton Springs Elementary.
In the healthcare field, those receiving awards were Drs. Ben Mailloux, Matt Molison and Steven Wilson, the Donald S. Walker Health Center in Liberty, the Searsport Health Center and the Lincolnville Regional Health Center.
The generosity of RSU 20 school children is likely making the holidays sweeter for a number of active duty military personnel. The students collected more than a quarter ton of candy to be forwarded to the troops.
Students from Ames Elementary in Searsmont, Captain Albert Stevens School (CASS) in Belfast, Drinkwater School in Northport, East Belfast, and Searsport Elementary School participated in the 2013 Halloween Candy Challenge.
The candy collected at Ames (208 pounds) and CASS (137 pounds) were picked up by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in a Humvee and were delivered to the Troop Greeters at Bangor International Airport. They, in a joint effort with the airport, University of Maine staff and numerous volunteers, put the candy in care packages they were sending to deployed troops overseas.
The remaining candy (220 pounds) was mailed by Waldo County General Hospital to Operation Gratitude in California, who annually sends 100,000 care packages to troops overseas.
The classes, who collected the most candy at each school, earned an extra recess.
The Searsport Elementary School afterschool program oversaw the project, using it as a math lesson.
Linda Hartkopf, the School Health Coordinator employed by Waldo County General Hospital, was the leader behind the project.
Steven Michaud, president of the Maine Hospital Association (MHA), told members of Waldo County General Hospital’s Community Advisory Council, that over the 26 years he has been with the MHA in different capacities, about one-third of the state’s 39 hospitals face operating losses each year. It’s not the same hospitals every year but still it has averaged out to 12 or 13 who finish the year in the red.
This year, that figure climbed to 24 hospitals and the operating losses were much higher.
But one hospital he has not seen on the “red-ink” list is Waldo County General Hospital. “Your hospital is something special within the State and within the healthcare system,” he said, adding that Mark Biscone, Executive Director of the Hospital, and his administrative team are one of the reasons for the Hospital’s success.
“The Hospital has had a positive bottom line (including non-operating income) for the last 35 years,” added Lee Woodward, President of the Hospital Board of Directors.
That may be much harder to continue, according to Michaud. He said Maine hospitals are facing “a plethora of changes and a rapidly deteriorating environment.” These include a poor rural economy in the state, an aging population (the oldest in the country), and state and federal budgets that are in bad shape.
Currently, 64 percent of the patients at Waldo County General Hospital are on Medicare or Medicaid and the state and federal governments keep cutting the reimbursements for services provided for those patients.
But the biggest problem, according to Michaud, is the decline in patient volume over the last couple of years. He cited the economy and affordability as reasons for the downturn in volume.
He said hospitals “need to live in a new reality,” including working to keep people healthy and doing better at working with those patients with chronic diseases. According to Michaud, the top 5 percent of hospital users in Maine’s Medicaid program cost an average of almost $70,000 per year while the average cost for the lowest 80 percent is $937 per year.
“We need to concentrate our efforts on the top 5 percent,” he said. “We need to manage their care, make sure they are taking their medications and keep them out of the hospital as much as possible.”
And if hospitals do that, there needs to be changes in the payment system with a reward for hospitals that keep patients out of the hospitals and in their homes; otherwise, the hospital volume will drop and they will be punished for “doing the right thing,” he said.
To deal with the issues he listed, along with the uncertainty of Obamamcarethe uncertainty of Obamacare, Michaud said hospitals need to protect what they have and reform “like crazy,” do better with less, and create value in a transparent world. But, he added, government needs to stop cutting the hospitals reimbursements while they are changing. Biscone added that Maine hospitals will lose $80 million per year for 10 years to pay for the subsidies promised by Obamacare.
Michaud said the trade-off was supposed to be that the bad debts and charitable care performed by hospitals would lessen as more people got covered by insurance. “The cuts are for sure and the offset is less sure,” he said.
In other action at the annual Community Advisory Council meeting:
Waldo County General Hospital (WCGH) has a new Chief of Anesthesiology onboard. And in the next few months, we will also add a new leader for our Hospitalist Program, a rheumatologist, and a general surgeon, along with a new provider for the Donald S. Walker Health Center in Liberty.
Dr. Curtis Smith, who currently lives and works as a hospitalist in Lancaster, N.H., will begin overseeing the Hospitalist Program at Waldo County March 1. Prior to moving to New Hampshire, Dr. Smith worked in this area and at one time was on the full time faculty for the Family Practice Residency Program at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He was on the emergency room staff at Waldo County from 2003-2005.
Dr. Sidney Block of Northport, a rheumatologist, will begin practicing here at the first of the year and he will be joined in mid-January by Dr. Shane Lydon of Lincolnville, a general surgeon.
Two Physician Assistants are also joining the staff. Valerie Poulos, PA-C, of Rockport, will be the new provider at the Donald S. Walker Health Center in Liberty. She has been working in emergency medicine at Maine Medical Center in Portland and on a per diem basis at Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta.
Adam Barnard, PA-C, of Belfast, will be working as a hospitalist. He has been working as a physician assistant at the Lovejoy Health Center in Albion since graduating from the Duke University Physician Assistant Program.
The Hospital’s new Chief of Anesthesiology is Dr. Michael Gowesky. He is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and comes to WCGH from Eastern Maine Medical Center and Pen Bay Medical Center.
Lobster Ravioli. Baked sole stuffed with crabmeat and scallop stuffing. Tender sautéed sirloin beef tips in a bourbon infused sauce. Fresh mozzarella & tomato salad with olive oil & fresh basil.
Doesn’t really sound like offerings you’d find at your local hospital, does it?
Many of the new parents, especially those with children at home, realize this may be the last fancy meal they are able to have with each other for a while.
With two boys at home, 8 years old and 22 months, Kristen Leavitt knows there aren’t going to be a lot of quiet, sit down together meals after she and Joe Dorval take newborn Nathan home to Stockton Springs.
That knowledge seems to make Joe and Kristen enjoy their meal even more.
And if tiramisu isn’t your cup of tea, the chocolate indulgence cake and New York style cheesecake with fresh seasonal berries look delicious, too.
The annual Silver Tea, sponsored by the Waldo County General Hospital Aid, was held Dec. 4 at the home of Tom and Alicia Stevenson, 58 Church Street, Belfast. The public enjoyed touring the magnificent home, along with the sandwiches, desserts, punch, coffee and tea served by Aid members from silver services.
The setting was a three-story house built in 1875 for George Pote, a Civil War veteran, who manufactured men’s vests. The house has Italianate influences with a capped decorative portico and bay windows.
The current owners have lived at the house for the past four years and have carefully restored certain rooms and modernized others. Open to be toured were twin parlors, a dining room, sunroom, kitchen, master bedroom and guest room on the first floor. A large map of Belfast from 1855 hangs in the front parlor. The front stairway has the original bannister, dentate-type wall molding and leads to the four bedrooms on the second floor.
A silver bowl located near the entrance for donations contained $2,163 and the raffle of gift cards to local restaurants netted nearly $1,700. All funds realized from the tea will benefit the hospital.
Winners of the Aid’s holiday raffle “Bon Appetit” were Leslie Lavender, Lucy Ledien, Ed Lord, Norma Sweigert, Geary Tibbetts and Judy Warren.
Waldo County Healthcare has re-engaged with our colleagues at MaineHealth, and we are moving forward with our plans to implement SeHR (Shared Electronic Health Record).
Last week we oriented nearly 80 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) at WCHI. These employees will be providing information on our current workflows to be used during the project Analysis and Design Phase. This phase will likely continue through the end of the year. At the conclusion of the Analysis and Design phase, we will be able to more accurately determine a specific timeframe for going live with SeHR. The Analysis and Design is a critical activity to bringing “One Patient, One Record” online at our Hospital and one that will require a great deal of staff cooperation.
Over the past several months, the MaineHealth SeHR Project Team has been working to stabilize and optimize SeHR and increase customer satisfaction with the system at Maine Medical Center, which will help us with our implementation.
We will be holding SeHR employee informational meetings to update co-workers on the process and to give them an opportunity to ask questions in the classroom on Dec. 18th at 7:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. There will also be demonstrations of Epic for providers on the 18th at noon and 5 p.m. Providers will receive invitations.