Like many years, we can look back on 2018 with a lot of pride in our accomplishments, while being faced with challenges that we must address as we move into 2019. We will look at the accomplishments and then the challenges with our focus being that we continue to provide quality healthcare for people in this region.
Integration with Northern Light Health-
For the past five years, the Mayo Regional Hospital Board of Directors has been working on finding an affiliate partner. Through an in-depth strategic planning process with industry experts, the board determined that being a stand-alone rural hospital would not place Mayo in a position of strength for long term sustainability. They completed a thorough requests for proposals in 2015-16 and interviewed the two parties that proposed. Northern Light, then EMHS, was chosen due to the size and resources of the organization as well as our existing integrated services.
We have been working over these past years to develop agreements, complete due diligence and assess what is already working well at Mayo. We are currently working under an Interim Agreement and are negotiating the terms for a Plan for Merger. While the negotiations continue, we will be devoting time to making sure everyone is as up-to-date as possible as plans progress. We will hold community forums to share information and answer questions from members of the public.
Innovations in Quality-
Mayo Regional Hospital has added several new programs this year to improve quality of care and patient access. We have added a new 3D Mammography system for better detection of Breast cancers in men and women.
Through our partnership with Northern Light Health-Eastern Maine Medical Center, we have added two new providers to our Cancer Care program who come to Mayo on a more frequent basis. Dr. Dennis has also started an anemia clinic in the new cancer care space.
In the Emergency Department, we are the first hospital in Maine to provide Tele-ED services through a partnership with Dartmouth Hitchcock. The New Hampshire-based hospital services many other hospitals in Northern NH and VT. With a push of a button our ED staff have access to Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physicians and Nurses to help in critical situations.
Continued financial distress-
Despite average or even slightly improved patient volumes, our organization continued to lose money on operations in 2018. Our unaudited bottom line on operations was ($1.2 Million). This is the third year in a row of losses greater than one million and we have not had a bottom line on operations since 2010. Many factors, of course, drive losses of this magnitude including, hiring of locum (temporary) physicians and temporary nursing staff, implementation of new information technology, and inadequate reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid to name a few.
As is usually the case, each year we experience some turnover of Providers. Either to retirement, moving closer to family or just relocating. 2018 is no exception to this. We said good bye to several providers including one very long-term physician in the community, Dr. Susan Luthin. Dr. Luthin took a job closer to her grandchildren. We hope she is doing well!
We are happy to welcome several new providers to our team, including, Andrea Greene, FNP, Sahara Dominguez, FNP, Diane Reynolds, PA-C, Jai Boardway, PA-C, Briana Martell, FNP, Sarah Simerly, NP, and Karen Nichols, PA-C. We will also be welcoming Dr. Hosam Abdallah to the Hospitalist service in early 2019.
One shining bright spot this year is the beginning of a partnership with Eastern Maine Community College in which Mayo is collaborating with them to offer a nursing program here in Dover-Foxcroft! Seven students are just finishing their first semester and will have their degrees by spring 2020. A very special thank you to their instructors, Mayo employees, Nikki Chadwick and Beth Weatherbee!
Major EMR upgrade-
Last December, the Mayo Board approved a major investment in a new Electronic Health Record through a partnership with Cerner Community Works. The Cerner system will replace our current legacy E.H.R.’s CPSI, All scripts and Intergy. It will provide our patients with ONE record, no matter where in the Mayo system you are seen. We believe this will lead to safer, more streamlined and efficient care.
This project is a major investment for Mayo, one that has required more hired resources than anticipated. The project implementation has been ongoing for the past 11 months and we are scheduled to “flip the switch” on January 14.
We have seen growth and opportunity as well as struggles and challenges this year. But we are optimistic about what the future holds with partnerships and the potential to improve local care while we remain focused on providing quality healthcare for the people in the communities we serve.
Marie Vienneau BSN, FACHE