Many of my messages this year, as well as messages in the State and National news, speak about the challenges of Rural Healthcare. Those are real, but as we approach Thanksgiving I would like to highlight the top 4 reasons I am grateful to be a leader at Mayo Regional Hospital.
1) Engaged Providers and Employees-
I know that Mayo Providers and Employees get up every day, come to work and do their best, with Patient Safety at top of mind. For a small rural region, we have the most talented, caring and engaged workforce. We have added five new Physician and Non-physician providers this year. It is great to have them join our team and our community!
2) Enhanced Access to Care-
Our providers and employees in our physician practices have reached a milestone of over 50,000 patient visits. Our Rural Health Clinics were awarded Patient Centered Medical Home Level 3 recognition by NCQA this year. I am very proud of a new initiative that they implemented this year, with same day open acute appointments. This allows patients who are ill to get an appointment same day, and avoid an expensive trip to the Emergency Department.
3) Investment in our Facility and our Community-
This past year our Board allocated the financing to allow us to upgrade many parts of our facility. We have re-modeled our Inpatient Unit including a new Nurse’s station, SCU rooms, private rooms, bathrooms and family friendly nourishment stations. This has made a much more inviting and quiet environment for patients and families.
Our new Oncology Unit, the “Tracy Hibbard Kasprzak Cancer Treatment Center” was dedicated in September. It is a newly built, private, modern and safe facility. We are excited to have this new space and are working actively with our partners at Cancer Care of Maine to expand services.
4) Partnerships and Collaboration-
We have known for a long time that partnerships play a very important role in sustaining services in a rural community. Over this past year, we have further expanded our relationship with our partner, EMHS (Eastern Maine Health System). We are exploring becoming a full member of the system, as there are many benefits that could be brought to Mayo by joining a larger system. We are already partnering with our colleagues at CA Dean and Sebasticook Valley Health. We are sharing providers and staff when we can to enhance services in both of our areas. They are proving to be great partners.
There is so much more to tell. Even though rural healthcare is challenged, there are so many great things happening. We need to pause to reflect and give thanks for our good fortune.