Northern Light Health recently became the first healthcare system in the country to have all of its birthing hospitals named Gold Safe Sleep Champions by the Cribs for Kids® National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program. The certification recognizes Northern Light Health for its commitment to keeping infants as safe as possible in their sleep environment and eliminating as many sleep-related deaths as possible.
The path to gold level certification began with a comprehensive, systemwide infant safe sleep policy. Other steps to certification included replacing receiving blankets in the hospital with wearable blankets or “sleep sacks,” training the care team on safe sleeping guidelines, developing a plan to educate parents about safe sleep before they leave the hospital, and modeling safe sleep behaviors in the hospital and in the community. Each Northern Light Health birthing hospital also provides cribettes to families in need that do not have the means to provide a safe sleep environment at home.
Northern Light Health welcomes more than 3,000 babies to Maine each year at its five birthing hospitals: Northern Light AR Gould Hospital (Presque Isle), Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center (Bangor), Northern Light Inland Hospital (Waterville), Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital (Ellsworth), and Northern Light Mercy Hospital (Portland).
“Caregiving teams from all five of our birthing hospitals made a commitment to together pursue the highest level of certification in this national program,” says Michelle Hood, president and CEO of Northern Light Health. “This achievement represents our dedication to patient safety and is a component of our commitment to providing new parents with resources to create a healthy environment for their new babies. I am proud of our teams for this effort, taking on a national challenge, and demonstrating how we are striving to make healthcare work for each family we serve.”
The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, the only national infant safe sleep organization. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Cribs for Kids®, is dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation.
“Modeling safe infant sleep in the hospital and providing education to families has a significant effect on infant mortality,” says Devon George, MSN, RN, director of education and outreach at Cribs for Kids®. “As the first system in the country to achieve gold-level certification for all of its birthing hospitals, Northern Light Health is taking an active role in reducing preventable infant deaths in communities throughout Maine and setting an example for other healthcare systems to follow.”
At Northern Light Health we’ve always been here to care for our communities, and we’re still ready for you. COVID-19 has changed many parts of our lives, but it is safe for you to access the care you need now, from a visit to your primary care provider to emergency care at any one of our hospitals.
Just like we have all made changes at home, Northern Light Health has changed to meet specific challenges to providing care and has implemented policies and procedures that ensure the safest environment possible for you and our staff.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to not delay care, delaying healthcare can cause conditions to worsen and create the need for more serious treatment. Most importantly, if you need emergency care, please call 9-1-1 immediately, access to emergency care has not changed.
We don’t want you to be surprised by the changes we’ve made so we’ve developed a series of short videos to show what you can expect during your visit at any Northern Light Health facility.
Ways We Are Keeping Our Patients Safe
Masking: Masks or other personal protective equipment are worn by all caregivers and doctors. We’re also asking all patients and visitors to wear masks or face coverings upon entering a Northern Light Health facility.
Hand Sanitation: We continue to wash our hands and use hand sanitizer frequently and encourage you to do the same.
Screening: Pre-screening happens before appointments, with temperature checks and a series of symptom check questions for anyone visiting our facilities.
COVID-19 Patient Care: Patients with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are treated by dedicated staff in designated areas. If you are at home with COVID-19 the Home Care COVID-19 team will care for you.
Cleaning/Disinfecting: All spaces are cleaned and sanitized per strict Northern Light Health medical standards. Our Environmental Services teams have always used checklists to ensure all areas are cleaned thoroughly. We disinfect every exam room and patient care area after each patient visit.
Reception Areas: Reception areas may look a little different. In many areas, we’ve placed stickers on the floor to remind people to maintain safe distancing, and we’ve installed plexiglass barriers in locations where patients and visitors may encounter staff.
Visitation Policy: We’ve had to restrict visitors because of the spread of COVID-19. This is hard because visitors have always been an important part of our patient care. We have very specific guidelines on which patients can have visitors and how many they can have. Your healthcare team can share more information about visitation restrictions.
Expanded telehealth services: A tool we’ve used for years to meet patient needs from home using a phone, tablet, or computer, telehealth appointments are available to meet more needs than ever. If you think a telehealth appointment might be right for you, ask your healthcare provider about it today.
You should always feel comfortable asking questions about your care. You can learn more on any of our websites and speak with your healthcare team to ask specific questions. Thank you for choosing Northern Light Health, it’s an honor to make healthcare work for you.
Ellsworth, Maine (June 30, 2020) — Work Health, LLC, an occupational health program that partners with employers and communities to help employees stay healthy and heal when they are injured, is excited to announce the opening of an Ellsworth location at 32 Resort Way on July 6.
“We are excited to be able to expand and provide our services to businesses in Hancock county and beyond,” explains Sharon D’Amboise, associate vice president at Work Health “We look forward to partnering with our clients and help them succeed by keeping their employees healthy too.”
Work Health provides assessment and treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses, physical exams, on-site ergonomic evaluations, independent medical evaluations, and a variety of employment related testing services.
This is the seventh Work Health clinic in Maine. Other facilities are located in Bangor, Portland, Pittsfield, Waterville and Presque Isle. Work Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Light Health.
At Northern Light Health, we’re building a better approach to healthcare because we believe people deserve access to care that works for them. As an integrated health delivery system serving Maine, we’re raising the bar with no-nonsense solutions that are leading the way to a healthier future for our state. Our more than 12,000 team members—in our hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, long-term and home healthcare, and ground and air medical transport and emergency care—are committed to making healthcare work for you: our patients, communities, and employees. To learn more about Northern Light Health and our locations across Maine, visit www.northernlighthealth.org.
Following last week’s announcement by Governor Janet Mills that Maine is taking a phased approach to reopening certain businesses, Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals are taking steps to return to critical services delayed by COVID-19.
“Patient and employee safety are our top priorities,” shares John Ronan, Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospital president. “Our plans include prioritizing the needs of our lower risk patients and scheduling those services that are more urgent. With an abundance of precaution and enhanced safety measures, we look forward to expanding services. We are here to provide the care our community needs.” Walk-In Care services offered at Northern Light Primary Care at Resort Way in Ellsworth and same day care at Northern Light Primary Care in Blue Hill continue to welcome patients for non-emergency care. Patients are encouraged to use the patient portal to communicate with their provider.
As Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals re-open services, some of the actions to ensure a safe care environment for its patients can be found below:
· Separate COVID-19 screening and assessment sites:
To provide the safest care to all patients, we have established specific areas for COVID-19 assessments and treatment.
· Screening process at all facilities:
Everyone who enters our facilities will be screened for symptoms. As an added layer of protection, temperature checks using touch free thermometers are being conducted during the screening process.
· Universal masking and physical distancing:
All Northern Light Health employees—clinical and non-clinical—are required to wear a face mask at all times while at work. Patients and visitors are also required to wear a face covering. Patients without a face covering will be provided a mask during the screening process to wear while within our facilities. Various changes to waiting room use and scheduling practices will enable social distance requirements.
· Visitor policy:
Visitation is restricted at Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals, including primary care and specialty care centers, with limited exceptions.
· Care at home through telehealth:
From primary care to specialty care, telehealth visits are a convenient way for patients to get the care and guidance they need without leaving home.
A trip to the grocery store is stressful right now. The masks, the new behavioral rules, the contagion anxiety are all very real and tough to manage. The Nutritional Services team at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital has made some changes during the COVID-19 response to help prevent coworkers from having to stress about food after their long shifts.
Normally the cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch. That means no access to food for staff around the dinner hour and into the night. But with some creative management, they have procured a cooler that is available 24/7 and the cafeteria staff is stocking it with healthy grab-and-go foods like sandwiches, salads, soups and healthy snacks.
“We decided as long as we were preparing the food already, we might as well make some extra for our coworkers to grab and take home,” says Barb Haskell, Nutritional Services manager.
And as an added help to those tired coworkers, the Food Services team is offering some key grocery staples for purchase 24/7, to prevent the need for stops at the store on the way home. Staff can pick up bread and half gallons of milk to take home. “It’s not just staff being tired after long shifts,” adds Barb. “I’ve had calls from staff who are at higher risk of serious illness because of underlying health conditions saying they are grateful to be able to access food when they need it in a more controlled environment.”
And thanks to the thoughtful creativity of Dede Sylvester, the lead cook, the team went a step further at Easter. They brought in packages of white eggs for staff to buy and take home to color with their children. It was one less thing staff needed to worry about during those incredibly busy days around the holiday.
The thoughtful and supportive actions of the Dietary Services team at Blue Hill demonstrate “we’re all in this together” in very practical way, making life just a little easier for those who are working on the front lines to keep our communities safe and cared for during this pandemic.
Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital (MCH) and Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital (BHH) have appointed Joseph Gaetano, MS, FACHE as the new Vice President of Operations.
Most recently, Gaetano worked for Siemens Healthcare advancing quality, improving technology, and enhancing physician and patient experience. He brings with him over 25 years of experience working in hospitals and healthcare systems around the world. His connection to Northern Light Health dates back 20 years to a large information technology project implementing a new patient accounting system.
A portion of Gaetano’s responsibilities include the oversight of primary and specialty care practices. With a particular interest in improving access to healthcare in rural areas, he looks forward to working with the practices to ensure they are meeting the healthcare needs of the community, providing exceptional quality, and delivering an excellent patient experience.
John Ronan, president of MCH and BHH is pleased to welcome Gaetano to the senior leadership team. “Joe will add an incredible perspective to our team. The combination of his wide-ranging experience with a variety of hospitals, his interest and expertise in technology, and passion for rural healthcare will certainly serve our community hospitals well,” shares Ronan.
This summer, Gaetano moved to Castine with his family. He is eager to settle into Maine and explore all that this area has to offer.
Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital was named a Top Rural Hospital nationally by The Leapfrog Group. Announced today, this award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive awards American hospitals can receive.
“I am incredibly proud of Blue Hill Hospital’s providers and staff,” shares John Ronan, president, Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals. “The healthcare team working at this hospital is certainly deserving of this recognition. Quality and safety efforts are a top priority as we do our best to put our patients first everyday in all that we do.”
The Top Hospital designation is bestowed by The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers widely acknowledged as the toughest standard-setters for health care safety and quality. Over 2,200 hospitals were considered for the Top Hospital Awards. Among those, Blue Hill Hospital, along with 18 others, received a Top Rural distinction.
“Being recognized as a Top Hospital is an extraordinary feat and we are honored to recognize Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital this year,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Despite the extraordinary pressure and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, they demonstrated an unwavering dedication to patients and to the Blue Hill community. We congratulate the board, staff and clinicians whose efforts made this honor possible.”
To qualify for the Top Hospitals distinction, hospitals must rank top among peers on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which assesses hospital performance on the highest standards for quality and patient safety and achieve top performance in its category. To see the full list of institutions honored as 2020 Top Hospitals, visit www.leapfroggroup.org/tophospitals.
Northern Light Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals plan to open an offsite, community COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Ellsworth. The Northern Light Hancock County Community Vaccination Clinic will allow access to COVID-19 vaccine for even more Mainers as it becomes available.
“Northern Light Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals have been working closely with the city of Ellsworth since the beginning of the pandemic,” explains John Ronan, FACHE, President Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals. “We have kept each other informed as COVID-19 affected our state and our communities, prepared emergency response plans, and ultimately planned for the distribution of vaccine. We are pleased to announce the opening of this community vaccination clinic.”
Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals have been administering vaccine according to Maine CDC guidelines on campus, in their hospitals. Knowing that the space was not ideal for larger vaccine distribution, the hospitals started conversations with representatives from the city of Ellsworth to find a larger, more convenient location. “We are thrilled to work with the owner of the High Street storefront, formerly Family Dollar,” shares Joe Gaetano, Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals VP Operations. Gaetano has been the point person for Northern Light Health’s vaccine distribution for Hancock County. The space provides adequate square footage, safe parking, and easy access for all in our community to access the vaccine. “The Maine CDC has announced that vaccine access will quickly expand to more Mainers in the coming months, and Maine Coast and Blue Hill Hospitals want to be ready. We plan to open in early April, and once fully up and running hope to serve 500-750 people per clinic.” Details including frequency and days for clinics are still being developed.
The on-site vaccination clinic at Maine Coast Hospital will close once the new site launches; however, the current plan is to keep vaccinations on-site at Blue Hill Hospital.
Vaccine appointment availability will continue to follow all Maine CDC guidelines and scheduling will follow the same process that all Northern Light Health vaccine clinic sites use. For online appointment scheduling, please visit: https://northernlighthealth.org/Resources/COVID-19/General-Information-about-COVID-19/COVID-19-Vaccinations
. If you do not have internet access, please call 207.204.8554. New appointments are added every Monday and Wednesday.
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital is pleased to announce that 3D mammography is now available to the community. Early detection and accurate diagnosis are the keys to beating breast cancer. Women on the Blue Hill peninsula, Deer Isle, and beyond now have an advantage in both of these critical areas thanks to the addition of the latest in breast health technology at Blue Hill Hospital. Funds raised through our Starlight Evening “campaign/ virtual toast” and through private donations, have enabled the hospital’s imaging department to purchase this new, state-of-the-art equipment.
Research has shown that digital breast tomosynthesis, better known as 3D mammography, has a higher success rate at detecting invasive breast cancers, and reduces the number of false detections.
“I am so very proud that Blue Hill now offers this service to our local patients,” shares John Ronan, FACHE, president, Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals. “Our patients deserve exceptional care, provided by a highly skilled team using advanced technology. This advancement plays a critical role in our mission as we continue to improve the health of our community.”
This new technology, is now standard-of-care, explains Natalie Stanley R.T. (R)(M). “It detects cancer earlier and more accurately, allowing patients to seek further care sooner, if needed. This will relieve unnecessary stress and anxiety on our patients.”
Blue Hill Hospital is currently scheduling 3D mammography appointments. Please call your primary care provider with questions or call the Imaging department directly to schedule an appointment at 207.374.3999.
Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals are proud to announce the Hancock County Business Partners Program, a new program to celebrate businesses that invest in the health of the community by supporting the hospitals’ nonprofit healthcare mission. Business partners will enjoy several benefits, including community recognition and an opportunity to engage with hospital leadership on local healthcare issues.
“The business community has always been a strong partner in helping us provide the skilled, compassionate care that families in Hancock County have relied on for generations,” says John Ronan, FACHE, president, Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals. “The Business Partners Program recognizes local businesses that support us in carrying on that tradition today.”
Business partners will be recognized on the Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospital websites, in the hospital lobbies, in newsletters, on social media, and in other ways. They will also be invited to an annual business breakfast with hospital leadership and receive a decal to display in their business. Businesses that donate $250 or more annually are recognized at one of four levels.
Nearly 100 businesses qualified to be a part of the Business Partners Program in 2020, including Machias Savings Bank. "Since 1986, 34 years running, Machias Savings Bank has been a committed community partner of Northern Light Health,” says Larry Barker, president & CEO, Machias Savings Bank. “Financially of course, but also a partner in time, with hundreds of hours of volunteer work by our employees. We are honored to both serve and support you and are keenly aware that your efforts have never been more important than they are today. Together we will continue to move the communities of Maine forward.”
“Business Roundtable members are true partners in helping us enhance access to care, maintain a strong healthcare workforce, and take on some of our region’s largest community health challenges,” adds Ronan. “We’re grateful for the business community’s generous support.”
To learn more about the Business Partners Program and view a list of participating businesses, please visit northernlighthealth.org/blue-hill-hospital or northernlighthealth.org/maine-coast-hospital.
Northern Light Health announces the launch of two rural hospital modernization projects that will shape the future of healthcare in Hancock and Piscataquis Counties. The projects will replace century-old hospital buildings at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital and Northern Light CA Dean Hospital (Greenville) with modern new facilities.
“Rural hospitals are closing at an accelerated rate across the country,” says Tim Dentry, president and CEO of Northern Light Health. “By thinking differently about how we deliver healthcare in rural Maine, we are building a patient-centered, sustainable model that will preserve access to care in these communities for generations to come.
The new facilities, which will be located on the existing hospital campuses, will include all private patient rooms, 24/7 full-service emergency departments, lab and imaging services, and more. A new FAA-approved helipad and ambulance garage and dormitory will be built at CA Dean Hospital. According to Dentry, the projects go beyond bricks and mortar.
“We have a unique opportunity to come together as a healthcare system to provide core services as close to home as possible and improve access to highly specialized care in innovative ways,” he says. “These future-focused projects will enhance telehealth, care coordination, and rapid medical transport to extend the services provided in our communities.”
The planning process for both projects is already underway, and construction will begin in the spring of 2022.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that strong rural hospitals are vital to the communities they serve, and their importance has never been greater,” says Tim. “Our older facilities were not built for the way that healthcare is provided today, and they will not allow us to meet future standards of care. That’s why we believe now is the right time to move forward with plans to strengthen vital healthcare services in Hancock and Piscataquis Counties.”
Community support is expected to play a key role in funding the projects. Fundraising campaigns in Hancock and Piscataquis Counties will provide opportunities for individuals and businesses to partner with their local hospitals to make the projects a reality.
To learn more:
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital announces The Next Century of Care: Keeping Our Promise,
a capital campaign that will set the foundation for the next 100 years of healthcare on the Blue Hill Peninsula and beyond. The campaign will provide funding to replace the existing hospital building and upgrade the Sussman Health Center.
“We have a vision to preserve care close to home for our next century, and the Keeping Our Promise
campaign is the key to making it a reality,” says John Ronan, FACHE, president, Blue Hill Hospital. “The campaign provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to design and build a new hospital to serve this community’s specific needs. It will be our healthcare home for generations to come.”
The patient and family-focused new hospital will be a comfortable environment for healing with lots of privacy for patients and views of the water from every inpatient room. The facility will include all private patient rooms with the latest in technology and patient comfort, a full-service emergency department, lab and imaging services, rehabilitation services, and more.
The $19 million project will be funded through the Keeping Our Promise
campaign and support from Northern Light Health as well as historical donations made to the hospital over the years The campaign will be led by a volunteer campaign committee comprised of local community leaders, businesses, donors, healthcare providers, and hospital staff.
Nancy Hatfield, a resident of East Blue Hill and the Capital Campaign Committee Chair, has deep connections to the hospital. Nancy was born on the front lawn of the hospital more than 80 years ago when her mother, who was out on the water with her family, couldn’t make it inside of the hospital in time to deliver. Nancy’s husband Charlie Hatfield was a well-known board member of the hospital for many years.
“It’s difficult to imagine our community without Blue Hill Hospital. It has been such an important part of our lives for generations,” she says. “It’s a big reason why people choose to live here, spend summers here, and retire here. It’s the largest employer in the area. This is our hospital, and now is the time to come together as a community to ensure its future.”
Joining Hatfield on the campaign committee are Verena Stoll, Vicki Bartholow, and Edward Griffin.
Noting the community’s early enthusiasm for the project, the campaign committee and the Blue Hill Hospital Foundation are looking forward to quickly ramping up the fundraising effort to raise the money needed for the new hospital by the end of 2022. According to Ronan, the project would not be possible without the community’s support.
“At a time when rural hospitals are closing across the country, the Keeping Our Promise
campaign will help Blue Hill Hospital chart a different course,” he says. “We are very appreciative of this community’s generosity over the years, and we hope that our friends continue to be as passionate as we are about protecting this special resource. Together, we will make this new hospital a reality—that’s our promise to every person who walks through our doors.”
Naming opportunities are available to recognize the support of individuals, families, and businesses and in honor or memory of loved ones. Every gift stays local to support the project. To learn more and contribute, please visit northernlight.org/BlueHillPromise
or call Ruth Calas, Director of Philanthropy at 207.374.3411.
If you have a few minutes, watch this video. You will understand more about the dire situation in India and how Northern Light Health is donating critically needed medical supplies to help overwhelmed healthcare workers in the world’s second-most populous country.
Portland-based Partners for World Health is our partner in this endeavor and is coordinating the shipment of medical supplies and equipment, including N95 masks, goggles, face shields, and medical devices such as oxygen concentrators and bag valve masks (BVMs) to India.
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital has received a $2 million pledge from philanthropist S. Donald Sussman in support of the Next Century of Care: Keeping Our Promise campaign. The hospital’s modernized campus will be named in honor of Sussman’s gift.
“We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Sussman’s extraordinary generosity,” shares John Ronan, president, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital. “His continued trust and support of the healthcare we provide throughout the Blue Hill peninsula and beyond is remarkable.”
“Maine is a very special place because it has a very special sense of community, and Mainers deserve the best healthcare possible when they fall ill,” says Donald Sussman, who has a home in Deer Isle. “I am pleased to be able to contribute to Northern Light Blue Hill’s ability to provide top quality healthcare in modernized, renovated facilities to all who need it, and I encourage other donors and leaders in the area to consider joining me in this important effort.”
Sussman also provided significant support to the hospital’s last campaign. The Sussman Health Center, which will be renovated during the upcoming modernization project, is named in his honor.
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital launched the Keeping Our Promise campaign earlier this summer to invite the community to join in investing in our next century of care. The groundbreaking for a new, modern hospital is planned to take place Spring 2022.
“This lead gift presents the hospital with an amazing opportunity,” explains Ruth Calas, Director of Philanthropy. “Mr. Sussman’s interest in rural healthcare is to be commended, his financial support will certainly make a difference in our ability to provide quality healthcare for the peninsula well into the future.”
To find out more about making a philanthropic commitment to help us “Keep Our Promise” to our communities for the next century and beyond, call Ruth Calas at 374.3411 or visit northernlight.org/BlueHillPromise.
BREWER, Maine (September 8, 2021) — Today, the American Business Immigration Coalition is hosting an Immigration and Healthcare Solutions virtual summit for members of Congress and staff. Lisa Harvey-McPherson RN, vice president of Government Relations for Northern Light Health, is joining health care leaders from across the country to discuss the need for Congress to support immigration policies that will address the critical need for health care workers in Maine and nationally.
Maine has a well-documented nursing workforce shortage and is projected to reach a deficit of 2,700 registered nurses by 2025. At Northern Light Health, we recruit healthcare providers to our hospitals to care for patients statewide. There is a critical need for both primary care and specialty practitioners. We recruit throughout the United States and in other countries for highly qualified physicians and nurses to relocate here; however, that work is challenged by the low number of J-1 Conrad Visas allowed each year in the State of Maine. National policy restricts Maine to just 30 J-1 Conrad Visas annually. National J-1 Visa limitations also challenge us as we work to recruit foreign nurses to work in our hospitals and home care program. Seventy-seven foreign-trained nurses are ready to work for Northern Light Health but are awaiting the visas required to come to the United States for employment.
More than one-quarter of the physicians on our active medical staff at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in northern Maine are foreign medical graduates, says Jay Reynolds, MD vice president and senior physician executive. “They fill critical roles in our primary and specialty care services. We would not be able to offer the cardiology, cancer, and inpatient services that we do if not for the many contributions they make every day. Our rural and underserved population would either need to travel 150 miles for these leading-edge services or do without. The J-1 visa program is a literal lifeline to Aroostook County.”
Deb Sanford, MBA, MSN, RN, vice president of Nursing and Patient Care Services, says foreign-trained nursing partners are an integral part of the care team at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Sanford cited talent, compassion, and a richness of experience, adding that, “Our patients often recognize these nurses for their skills and kindness. These same nurses have won many awards in our hospital and from our patients for the high standard of care and commitment they provide to the profession of nursing here at EMMC. Without these nurses, we would have to close services due to the shortage of nurses in Maine and across the nation.
At Northern Light Mercy Hospital, Melissa Skahan, vice president of Mission Integration, says they seek to close the opportunity gap by providing immigrant healthcare workers access to education and training while meeting critical labor force needs and earning competitive wages to support themselves and their families. Additionally, Skahan says, “There is a growing need for workers with bilingual and cultural skills to serve our increasingly diverse public.”
Lisa is briefing virtual summit attendees on our need for foreign-trained doctors and nurses. She is asking members of Congress for their support to increase the visas available for health professionals. We thank Senator Collins and Senator King for co-sponsoring the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act. This bill will enhance our nation’s nursing and physician workforce during the COVID-19 crisis by recapturing unused immigrant visas.
Brewer, Maine (September 28, 2021) — Too many Mainers miss medical appointments because they lack transportation or go hungry because they are too proud to seek help. Imagine if we had a better way to uncover what people are experiencing and could instantly connect them with resources to help them find rides to a doctor’s appointment or access a food pantry?
Northern Light Health just received a $250,000 grant from Pfizer and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to invest in our Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Screening and Data improvement processes. Social determinants of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health outcomes.
“Northern Light Health is committed to improving health outcomes for all Mainers, in all the communities we serve. Healthcare organizations have a pivotal role in improving the health of the patients we serve by better understanding the environment and social conditions that impact them. We need to not only screen for these conditions that impact the health of individuals but also have a mechanism to connect people with the resources they need to support healthier lives and healthier communities. Our commitment to health equity aims to do just that by leveraging data and technology,” explains Navneet Marwaha, MD, vice president and chief quality officer, Northern Light Health.
Northern Light Health is one of three recipients nationally to receive this highly competitive quality improvement grant award. With this award, Northern Light Health will:
Establish a multidisciplinary system-level SDOH Committee to oversee enhanced response to SDOH screening and referral.
Recruit 4 to 6 primary care practices to participate in quality improvement projects to achieve SDOH screening rates of at least 70%.
Provide quality improvement support and document best practices in SDOH screening and referral workflows.
Work with primary care practices to reach SDOH screening and referral targets and promote the adoption of consistent documentation of screening and results.
Integrate enhanced ability to assess patient and community social health needs by implementing an electronic health record (EHR) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) analytics dashboard.
Implement an integrated social care referral platform to improve ability to connect patients with social health needs to community resources.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” shares Carrie Arsenault, MBA, president, Northern Light Beacon Health. “The key to helping people improve their health is to have a robust screening and referral process and the technology to track and record the data so that we can continuously review and improve our processes. We thank Pfizer and IHI for believing in us and investing in the work we are doing to make Maine a healthier place for all our people, regardless of who they are, where they live, or what they do.” The grant funding for this 15-month project became available at the beginning of September.
We are excited to tell you about a wonderful collaboration between the Medical Center and another member hospital, Northern Light Inland Hospital. It’s all about caring staff, advanced technology and making healthcare work for our patients, meeting them where they are and when they’re ready.
Amy McClary, RN BSN,
lung cancer screening nurse navigator, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center received a referral from an Inland Hospital provider for one of their patients in need of a lung cancer screening. Amy called the patient, ensured the patient met the screening criteria, and asked if the patient was interested in the program – which the patient was!
Amy then offered the patient a virtual or an in-office appointment. Unfortunately, neither would work for the patient. Not wanting to lose the opportunity to help this patient, Amy began to research other options by calling her contacts at Inland Hospital. She connected with the practice manager and arranged that the patient to go to the primary care provider’s office. The patient was able to complete the virtual appointment and was extremely happy that we took the extra steps to figure out how to be “seen” without the patient having to leave the community.
This success story shows the passion of our staff and the strength of our technology. Thanks, Amy, for never giving up!
Ellsworth businesses support local breast care this October
As of January 2021, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to help increase attention and support of the disease. Locally, businesses are finding unique ways to contribute to this cause.
Stanley Subaru’s Test Drive for the Cure, for the month of October, will donate $10 per test drive to Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital to the Breast Clinic and the Mary Dow Center for Cancer Care. This year, customers can also take a virtual test drive of any vehicle at stanleysubaru.com and Stanley Subaru will donate $5. They are also selling pink ribbon magnets for $5, and Stanley Subaru will match for a combined $10 dollar donation.
“For years, Stanley Subaru has been an incredible partner,” explains Ruth Calas, director of philanthropy for Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals. “They have surpassed $25,000 in donations to local breast cancer prevention, detection, treatment and support. We are extremely grateful to Stanley Subaru owner Mark Politte and his team for their continued commitment to local healthcare.”
Other businesses provide support for breast cancer care in Ellsworth too. Momo’s Cheesecake donates 10% of October sales, The Bud Connection makes a donation for every used vase or basket returned to the shop, and Tradewinds in Ellsworth donates one cent of every gallon of gas purchased (all year round, not just in October).
“The loyalty and devotion of these businesses year after year is humbling,” shares John Ronan, FACHE, president, Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital and Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital. “Breast cancer awareness, early detection, and treatment are critical in the battle to beat this disease. I am grateful for the local interest and support and proud that we are able to offer comprehensive breast care services right here in Ellsworth.”
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital recently launched the Next Century of Care: Keeping Our Promise campaign to raise funds for an extraordinary campus modernization project. Construction for the new hospital is scheduled to begin in spring of 2022, also the 100th anniversary for the organization. “A new hospital for Blue Hill brings a promise that rural health care will be here far into the future,” shares John Ronan, president, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital. “The positive feedback and support that we have received from our year-round and seasonal community members has been overwhelmingly positive. Our patients, friends, and neighbors have shared that they are pleased to see this commitment to access to local healthcare.”
Two families have recently pledged support for the project, propelling the campaign’s success even further. Blue Hill residents Sarah and Tom Fanning and Susan and Chris Pappas have both committed generous gifts to Blue Hill Hospital. “The Emergency Department at Blue Hill Hospital saved my life” says Tom Fanning. “That’s why we decided to support this campaign with a gift to name the Emergency Department. Blue Hill means so much to our family and we want to give back to the community to ensure we always have this wonderful resource. We hope you will join us in supporting this important project.”
The Pappases also believe in supporting local healthcare and feel that “having excellent and readily available medical care for everyone is an imperative to a strong community.” Susan and Chris share that they are so fortunate to have excellent care so close to their summer home and have made a generous gift to name the Welcome Reception area of the new hospital. “We are excited not only about the new Blue Hill Hospital, but we are also supporting the construction of a new birthing center at Maine Coast Hospital. What an amazing resource for parents and their babies!”
“These gifts will truly make a difference in our ability to keep high quality care right here in Blue Hill,” says Ruth Calas, director of philanthropy for the hospital. Blue Hill Hospital hopes that others are inspired to join by supporting this important campaign. To find out more about making a philanthropic commitment to help us “Keep our Promise” to our communities for the next century and beyond, call Ruth Calas at 374.3411 or visit northernlight.org/BlueHillPromise.
Many of you are already aware of the tremendous work that our direct care staff do every day to care for patients who are sick with COVID-19. Many of you do this work every day. The rest of you support these efforts. We are grateful to every one of you. In our continuing efforts to share information with the public that we hope will save lives, ease the burdens on our direct care workers, and turn the tide on this pandemic, we are sharing with the you and the public, a series of videos that we hope send a powerful message, not only about the compassion with which we care for patients, but also about the steps we can take to end this deadly pandemic.
If you want to see the care and compassion with which ICU nurses show to patients they are treating with COVID-19, please watch this video. It’s an eye-opening account of our care teams efforts to treat patients who are really sick, and in some cases dying from a largely preventable illness.
Operating in a small, confined space with patients who are infected with COVID-19, LifeFlight of Maine crews must take extraordinary precautions to protect themselves and care for people who are critically ill. We wanted you to see the work they do.
Home Care & Hospice Nurses
Caring for patients who are sick at home with COVID-19 poses unique challenges for Home Care & Hospice Nurses. The trunk of their cars becomes their new station for donning PPE. Their driver’s seat is their new office. Learn more about the work they do, and how it has changed during the pandemic.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, healthcare and frontline workers are struggling to manage the stress of dealing with the virus continually. In collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services StrengthenME program, Work Force EAP is offering free support services for all Maine healthcare and frontline workers who may be feeling down, disconnected, or discouraged.
“These are really trying times, particularly for healthcare and frontline workers who are often short-staffed, overworked and navigating all the personal challenges that come with living through a pandemic,” states Work Force EAP Director Sheila Thibodeau, LCSW. “We know workers need to be able to take care of themselves to provide quality care, yet there are so many barriers to accessing support. That’s why we are thrilled to partner with the State of Maine’s StrengthenME program to offer a range of free support services. If you are a healthcare or frontline worker, we are here for you.”
Call 1-800-769-9819, go online at www.workforceeap.com/strengthenme
, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
to access free support services that include individual confidential coaching sessions, wellness workshops, and connection groups.
Imagine this: your child is complaining of a sore ear and the sniffles, and the problem seems to be getting worse. You take your child to the pediatrician to be examined. Shouldn’t an antibiotic be one of the next steps in care? Not necessarily.
“Antibiotics do a great job of battling bacterial infections, but they do not work on viruses that cause colds, flu, or COVID-19,” says Kyle Massey, PharmD, BCIDP, infectious disease pharmacist and co-director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. “Antibiotics save lives, but they aren’t the right answer for many sinus infections, and even some ear infections.”
During antibiotic awareness week, November 18-24, Northern Light Health is raising awareness about antibiotic resistance and the dangers of prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to public health.
“Without antibiotics, a cut or scrape could become life-threatening, major surgery would be much riskier, and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy would be more susceptible to infection,” says Rebekah Gass, MD, physician lead, Northern Light Infectious Disease Care and co-director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. “When we use antibiotics responsibly, we ensure that they will continue to be effective against serious, life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and sepsis.”
If an antibiotic is not needed, your healthcare provider will offer a treatment plan that will help you or your family member get relief from symptoms. Questions to ask your provider include:
- Are these symptoms caused by bacteria, a virus, or something else?
- Is an antibiotic the appropriate treatment?
- What treatments are available to help me or my family member feel better?
- What can my family do to stay healthy in the future?
“If you or a family member have a virus, there may be treatments available to help with symptoms,” adds Massey. “Your family’s health and comfort are your provider’s top priority, and you can expect your provider to discuss the various options available to help you feel better.”
When antibiotics are prescribed, it’s important to take the medications as directed and to talk with a healthcare provider about any side effects.
To learn more about how antibiotics are used in your care and the dangers of antibiotic resistance, please visit northernlighthealth.org/antibiotics
Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital was named a Top Rural Hospital nationally by The Leapfrog Group. Announced today, The Top Hospital designation is bestowed by The Leapfrog Group
, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers recognized as the toughest standard-setters for health care safety and quality.
“The providers and staff at Blue Hill Hospital are certainly deserving of this recognition,” shares John Ronan, FACHE, president of Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital. “Quality and safety continue to be top priorities, and this award acknowledges the hospital’s focus on putting our patients first - everyday.”
Among those considered for top hospital awards, Blue Hill Hospital received a Top Rural distinction. A total of 149 top hospitals nationwide were selected as Top Hospitals, including:
- 8 Top Children’s
- 46 Top General
- 23 Top Rural
- 72 Top Teaching
The quality of patient care across many areas of hospital performance is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication and other errors. “Our care teams work diligently to ensure that safety standards and quality protocols are met consistently,” explains Kristin Cyr, MSN, MBA, CHC, CHPC, vice president of nursing and patient care services. “This recognition is an honor, and I am extremely proud that Blue Hill regularly achieves this exceptional distinction.”
The Leapfrog Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive awards American hospitals can receive. The rigorous standards are defined in each year’s Top Hospital Methodology
. “We are pleased to recognize Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital as a Top Hospital this year,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Even with the continued strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Hill Hospital has demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to excellent health care in the community. We congratulate the board, leadership, staff and clinicians who put their patients first.”
To qualify for the Top Hospitals distinction, hospitals must rank top among peers on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which assesses hospital performance on the highest standards for quality and patient safety. To see the full list of institutions honored as 2021 Top Hospitals, visit www.leapfroggroup.org/tophospitals
Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals are assisting community members who are looking for help with the Health Insurance Open Enrollment process. Certified Application Counselors are on site, ready to help. Appointments are complimentary.
To schedule an appointment for assistance at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, call 374-3927 and for Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, call 664-5330.
Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals are assisting community members who are looking for help with the Health Insurance Open Enrollment process. Certified Application Counselors are on site, ready to help. Appointments are complimentary.
To schedule an appointment for assistance at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, call 374-3927 and for Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, call 664-5330.
Brewer, Maine (December 10, 2021) — Vaccination and boosters are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, especially as we are now well into the holiday season. To accommodate the high demand for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, Northern Light Health will be hosting a series of vaccine clinics at the Northern Light Health Center, 885 Union Street in Bangor. Community members can begin registering for those appointments today. Registration is required and the information to do so is listed below.
Matt Marston, PharmD, vice president - Pharmacy, Northern Light Health, shares, “With the holidays upon us and more people gathering indoors, it’s essential that as many people as possible receive their COVID-19 booster so that we all, including our close friends and family, can stay safe and healthy this season. By opening these additional clinics, we hope to provide individuals in the Bangor area with an easily accessible and convenient option to receive their booster as soon as possible.”
Northern Light Health anticipates they will be able to handle at least approximately 144 patients at each clinic.
Northern Light Health Booster Registration
Online registration for booster vaccines is available effective immediately on our Northern Light Health vaccine scheduling tool (https://covid.northernlighthealth.org/). Eligible community members may schedule a booster appointment using the scheduling tool. If they do not have access to a smart phone or computer, they should call 207-204-8551 to make an appointment.
Information on “Mix-and-Match” Boosters
While any initial, two dose vaccine series must be with the same vaccine, you may mix-and match vaccine types for your booster. Those who have had more severe side effects from their first two doses, may benefit from trying a different vaccine for their booster. Mixing and matching has also been shown in early studies to provide an enhanced immunity response, particularly for those who initially received Johnson & Johnson as their initial vaccination.
Brewer, Maine (January 18, 2022) — Following a comprehensive search for a new senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Northern Light Health is pleased to announce that Hugh Jones will join the Northern Light team in the coming weeks. Jones comes to Northern Light Health from the Lewiston area, where he was vice president of strategy and managed care for Central Maine Healthcare.
Among other assignments, Mr. Jones will be charged with helping to advance our Integrated Strategic Financial Plan (ISFP) and ensuring alignment around these bold strategies. He will also provide leadership for marketing and communications, strategic planning, grants and community health, our external clinical affiliation relationships, and advocacy and government relations.
“I am pleased we found a candidate of Hugh’s skill and expertise so close to home,” commented Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health. “He already knows the state and is familiar with the statewide landscape of Northern Light Health. I look forward to welcoming him to the system and the senior leadership team. Speaking with Hugh over the weekend, he said he is excited to become part of the Northern Light team.”
Jones shared, “The mission, vision, and especially the brand promise to ‘make healthcare work for you’ really resonate with me. This compelling commitment to innovating for our communities, patients, and team members is what drew me to this opportunity in the first place. I am looking forward to getting started!”
Prior to arriving in Maine in 2020, Jones served as senior vice president and chief strategy and development officer for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee, and before that he held a similar role at Mount Carmel Health System, in Columbus, Ohio. He has also held various strategy and development roles with Trinity Health and Holy Cross, as well as planning and finance roles for Kaiser Permanente. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton College, studied at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and earned a Master of Business Administration from George Mason University. He also holds a healthcare management certificate from Georgetown University and completed the Global Leadership in Healthcare program at the University of Michigan.
Mr. Jones and his wife, Patricia, have two adult children. They look forward to relocating to the greater Bangor area. He will officially join the team in March. Please join me in giving Hugh a warm Northern Light Health welcome!
Northern Light Health to “Go Red” for women’s heart health on Friday, February 4
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Each year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease. For this reason, Northern Light Health is joining the American Heart Association and others nationally for American Heart Month throughout the month of February.
Northern Light Health hospitals from Portland to Presque Isle will “Go Red for Women,” encouraging employees and all Mainers to wear red on Friday, February 4 to help raise awareness of heart disease, particularly among women.
The following may be early warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack:
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual or extreme fatigue
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Upper body discomfort (jaw, neck, back pain)
Knowing these heart attack symptoms could mean the difference between life and death. The sooner appropriate action is taken, the better the odds are for survival and decreased complications following a heart attack.
All Northern Light Health organizations encourage Mainers to move to the rhythm of a healthier heart. To learn more and for additional useful resources visit northernlighthealth.org/hearthealth.
Many Northern Light Health care sites, cafeterias, and Northern Light Pharmacy accept tap to pay contactless payments through Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay using cell phones and smartwatches. As of February 1, tap to pay is temporarily unavailable at some locations. All other common payment options continue to be accepted, including credit cards, debit cards, and cash.
This change affects most Northern Light hospitals, health centers, Northern Light Pharmacy, and the cafeterias at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. It does not affect Northern Light Mayo Hospital, Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, and their care sites.
Tap to pay at these locations has been temporarily disabled while our payment vendor configures our terminals to comply with new standards from payment processors. These changes are being made to payment terminals across the country to keep transactions safe and secure and are not specific to Northern Light Health.
Northern Light Health will work with patients on convenient alternative payment options until tap to pay is resumed. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Northern Light Health becomes first company in Maine to invest in NextGen Health Residency
Brewer, Maine (March 8, 2022) -
Northern Light Health has taken a large step forward in investing in Maine’s future by becoming the first company in the state to partner in the NextGen Health Residency, a program of the Roux Institute at Northeastern University in Portland, Maine. The NextGen Health Residency is designed to support first-time entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups with high-growth ideas that have the potential to fundamentally alter the way we live and work.
This innovative arrangement will provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a real-time look at the healthcare industry, a promising path for career progression, assistance with developing new skills, continuous learning opportunities, and the ability to be a part of solving some of the industry’s most challenging problems. Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health shared, “Northern Light Health is thrilled to take this leading step with the NextGen Health Residency. Not only are we helping to invest in the future of young, cutting-edge researchers and entrepreneurs, this is a win for all of Maine with the potential to catalyze economic growth, mobility, and opportunity throughout the region.”
Through this arrangement, Northern Light Health will make a $500,000 annual commitment for the next three years to the NextGen Health Residency as well as provide access to leading experts in the industry, mentorship, and a first-hand look at healthcare today. In turn, the program will design and initiate research, innovation, and other initiatives consistent with the strategies of Northern Light Health.
Benjamin Chesler, associate director of Entrepreneurship at The Roux Institute says, “We could not be more thrilled to have Northern Light as a Founding Partner in our NextGen Health Residency. As one of the premier health systems in Maine, their participation will help us attract some of the top entrepreneurs building the next generation of healthcare-focused companies.”
Dentry added, “By working together, we are actively creating more possibility through ideas yet to be realized, making our home state an attractive place to live and work. It’s another way we are living up to our promise to make healthcare work for Maine.”
For more on Northeastern University’s Roux Institute, visit https://roux.northeastern.edu/
Brewer, Maine (May 31, 2022) -
At Northern Light Health, care does not end at the bedside or in our practices. Whether it’s in Portland at Northern Light Mercy Hospital or in Aroostook County at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, Northern Light Health is committed to delivering care focused on the needs of each person and our communities. Addressing substance and opioid use; improving access to food, housing, and transportation; and ensuring equitable access to preventive vaccines for our vulnerable neighbors are among the many ways the health system is investing in our communities to address identified health needs throughout the state. During fiscal year 2021 (October 2020 – September 2021), Northern Light Health and its members provided $270,979,467 in community benefit throughout the state.
“We are committed to making healthcare work for each individual, and this means ensuring all community members have access to necessary resources. Through the pursuit of innovative community-based solutions and with the help of our community partners, we are addressing our toughest health challenges and reaching patients where they already are,” explains Doug Michael, associate vice president and chief community health officer, Northern Light Health. “Through free community classes, health education programs, transportation initiatives, and so much more, we are making care easier and more accessible for Mainers. This is our promise to our patients, families, and communities we serve.”
Northern Light Health members provide a wide range of free or reduced-cost programs and services to those who are sick, injured, or disabled. These community benefits are designed to improve the health of our communities and increase access to healthcare in response to identified community health needs
The Northern Light Health Community Benefit Report is categorized by nonprofit members to easily see how Northern Light Health is working to target each region’s unique needs. The report is available on the Northern Light Health website at FY21-Community-Benefit-Report.pdf.aspx (northernlighthealth.org)
Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals are pleased to announce a change in our visitation policy. The hospitals have waited for a time to safely allow visitors back into their facilities. Because of the downward trend of our community positivity rate as well as our desire to meet the needs of our community and patients, visitation will be allowed starting April 1.
Hospital patients will be allowed two visitors at a time between the hours of 8am-8pm. Visitors must wear a hospital issued mask, regardless of vaccination status, during their entire stay. In the rare instance where visitation impacts safe delivery of patient care (for the patient and/or visitor), visitors may be asked leave. Hospital providers and staff are continuing to work hard to keep everyone safe.