Meet Our New Physician – Dr. Jacqueline Russell

Calais Community Hospital is pleased to welcome Family Medicine Physician Dr. Jacqueline Russell to Calais Community Provider Practices.  Dr. Russell earned her medical degree from the University of New England Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, ME. She completed a transitional intern year at St Barnabus NMM Residency in Bronx, NY and a Family Medicine Residency at Eastern Connecticut Health Network in Manchester, CT.  Most recently, Dr. Russell has been practicing primary care in Belfast, ME.

Dr. Russell says she spent many years trying to figure out what she wanted to do – nine years in the Marine Corps, twenty plus years in electronics, and the last eight doing therapeutic massage in Florida and Maine – before heading to medical school.   She explains that she desired a career where she could make a real difference in people’s lives.   She hopes to develop a relationship with her patients that will enable her to provide personalized care that truly fits with the patient’s life and goals.

Dr. Russell is the youngest of six children and was born in the small rural town of North Royalton, Ohio.  “We were one of four houses on the street, and I remember walking up to the little variety store with my friends when I was about 8 or 9 and playing outside till it was dark without ever worrying about anything bad happening,” she describes.   There was one grocery store and one elementary school.  Dr. Russell said her childhood home had a huge garden and thirty or more chickens and ducks, two huge rabbits, a dog, and a handful of cats.  At the age of twelve following the death of Dr. Russell’s father in a car accident, she moved from her rural roots with her mother and brother to Florida to be closer to her sisters.  And she has been moving ever since: military when she was 17-26, then moving with jobs, and finally to follow her dreams of medical school and residency.

Dr. Russell describes her best accomplishment as being the mother of two wonderful people and grandmother of seven.   Her son’s family is based in Biddeford while he works in DC and her daughter lives in Connecticut.   When she is not working, Dr. Russell has a variety of activities she enjoys.  She loves to garden and watch things grow – planting flowers, vegetables, and herbs.  Once she has settled in she hopes to have a garden full of parsley and lemon balm and mint and cilantro.  She also loves to cook, especially Italian or Thai food.  She likes to spend rainy days knitting and crocheting and doing puzzles.

Dr. Russell is looking forward to her move to Calais and getting to know all the area has to offer.  She describes, “I truly am looking for a place where I can settle and have neighbors that drop by and a community I feel I am a part of.  Big cities are hectic and oddly lonely- I hope Calais can be that home for me.”

Dr. Russell will begin seeing patients in September at the CCPP Primary Care office.  Call 454-8195, option 2 for an appointment or to inquire about her services.  Please take the opportunity to welcome our newest physician if the opportunity presents itself.

CCH Introduces New 3D Mammography Machine

A new, state-of-the-art Senographe Pristina 3D mammography machine is the most recent addition to the Calais Community Hospital radiology department.

L to R: Mammographer Billie Jo Ham, BS, RT(R) and Imaging Manager Kristy Surles, RT(R)(CT)(BD) with the new state of the art 3D Mammography equipment now available at CCH. Appointments are being scheduled for this new system.

3D mammography, the next step beyond 2D, is the highest standard of care for mammograms.  Calais Community Hospital’s new 3D system captures high-quality images while automatically reducing radiation exposure to the minimum necessary.  The Senographe Pristina produces clearer images that will make it easier to catch breast cancer early.    The clarity of the images should reduce the number of call backs, and when call backs are necessary, the new system makes it easier to provide patients with a definitive answer on their results.

“We are offering patients an exam that is quick and accurate, and the patient can be confident in their results,” said Mammographer Billie Jo Ham, B.S., R.T. (R).  “I am thrilled we can provide this state-of-the-art technology to our patients and community.”

The hope is this new system will encourage women to be more compliant with screening guidelines, and not skip their mammograms.   Mammograms are a critical part of maintaining a healthy life and we want it to be an easy, comfortable experience for women.   While the equipment is new, it is operated by the same highly skilled, compassionate, and experienced CCH staff – the same friendly faces will be present to make the process as pleasant and efficient as possible.

Investing in state-of-the-art technology is part of Calais Community Hospital’s mission to improve the health of community members.   Investing in new mammography technology also demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to increase cancer screening rates among residents in Eastern Washington County.

Since the transition to Calais Community Hospital, the hospital has invested much of its financial resources back into the hospital.  These capital investments include a new bone density machine, MRI, ultrasound equipment, anesthesia equipment, bi-pap machines, pulmonary function testing (PFT) equipment, orthopedic surgical equipment, and more.

If you are due for a mammogram and have been putting it off, contact your primary care provider about sending a referral to CCH.  It is an important screening to get up to date on.  If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival.  Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years.

 

To the women in our community – remember to take care of yourselves so you can continue to care for those you love.

To the men in our community – remind the women important in your life that screenings are essential and help them remember to schedule it.

 

Protect your health and support your local hospital and its staff by requesting a mammogram referral to Calais Community Hospital from your primary care provider today.

Universal Masking Lifted

Over 1,000 days ago mandatory universal masking became the norm across our service area, the state, nation and world.   As of Monday, May 1, at Calais Community Hospital and Down East Community Hospital universal masking requirements for patients, visitors and staff will mostly be optional and no longer required.  The exceptions that require masking include the presence of respiratory virus symptoms/diagnosis, exposure to Covid-19, and treatment areas such as infusion and OR.  Notices will be in place for areas or patient rooms that require masking.  Masks will continue to be available for anyone who chooses to wear one and patients may also request their caregiver wear a mask if it makes them feel more comfortable.

To help control the spread of illness and enable our facilities to maintain the lift on universal masking, we urge our community members to not visit patients when experiencing respiratory virus symptoms including fever, headaches, body aches, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Please remember that although masks are now optional at CCH and DECH facilities, standard precautions may require some visitors and patients to mask under certain conditions – just as it was prior to the pandemic.

Upgraded Ultrasound Equipment at CCH

Calais Community Hospital is pleased to announce the arrival and installation of a brand-new GE Logiq E10 Ultrasound machine.  The new equipment provides better quality images, exceptional detail, and allows the sonographer to see certain structures within the body easier and more clearly.  Pictured is CCH Ultrasound Tech Whitney Mauser with the new GE Logiq E10 ultrasound machine.

 

The GE Logiq E10 boasts many advanced features.  The E10’s advanced graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware technology acquires and reconstructs data in a similar way to an MRI or CT system, enabling 48 times the data throughput and 10 times the processing power of previous systems. The image reconstruction platform is so powerful that it can process an amount of data equivalent to playing two entire DVDs in just one second, in real time. The system’s new photo assistant app feature enables sonographers to photograph relevant anatomy and include the photos with the clinical images sent to the radiologist, providing valuable context and documentation.  The systems also store original data from the scan so that, if necessary, providers can go back to extract and reanalyze information without extending a patients exam time.

This GE Logiq E10 machine allows CCH to offer a variety of ultrasounds examining the following areas and issues:

  • breast
  • abdomen
  • aorta
  • renal
  • thyroid
  • carotid
  • scrotum
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • pelvic
  • Early OB and OB growth studies

Medical imaging plays an important role in patient care at CCH, because these technologies assist medical providers in prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of ailments and diseases.  Our commitment to investing in our community with the latest technology ensures that you and your health care provider can get accurate and timely test results, close to home. Patients can have confidence in the superior level of imaging quality and care provided at our facility and should feel confident in requesting their imaging referrals be sent to CCH.

Consider Becoming an Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donor

April is National Donate Life Month.  Down East Community Hospital and Calais Community Hospital want to bring awareness to this very important cause. The month-long campaign showcases various perspectives of those touched by donation and transplantation.  Every year since 2003, April has been filled with stories to spread the lifesaving message of donation to motivate people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. You can become a donor by registering at www.RegisterMe.org.

 

The Donate Life America theme for 2023 was inspired by the natural world of a pond coming to life in the spring. Frogs (and toads!) are a sign of healing and renewal, and water lilies represent hope.

The generosity of the donors at Down East Community Hospital and Calais Community Hospital has restored health to many grateful recipients of lifesaving and life enhancing transplants.  We are proud to be Donate Life organizations.

 

In 2022, more than 42,000 transplants from 21,300 donors brought renewed life to patients and their families.  A single tissue donor can help more than 75 people.  Sadly, 5,230 transplant candidates died in 2022 while on the national transplant waiting list.  More than 100,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list for lifesaving organ transplants.

 

Most Americans support donation as an opportunity to give life and health to others.  Unfortunately, many people overlook the important step of registering their decision to be a donor.  Take that important step today and become an organ, eye, and tissue donor by going to RegisterMe.org, it takes less than two minutes.

 

 

Join the Pink Zone

Raise Awareness About Breast Cancer Detection

The Calais Lady Blue Devils will host the Pink Zone game against the Woodland Lady Dragons on Saturday, February 4 sponsored by Calais Community Hospital to raise awareness about breast cancer screenings.

For this one night fans are asked to drop their team colors and unite together by wearing pink to the game.    As in years past, the Pink Zone is also supported by PCT Communications.   Breast Cancer Awareness information and promotional items will be available at the game.  And one lucky fan will have a try at making a putt across the gym floor for a cash prize during the Pink Zone Putt at half time.    During the event Calais Lady Blue Devils Coach, Sean Cavanaugh, will display a photo of his mother – to represent the fans that are missing.   Fans who have lost a loved one to cancer are invited to bring a picture to add to the wall display.  “We are hoping it will allow people to see the effects of cancer and give us a chance to talk about early detection for breast cancer and the fact it can save lives,” explains Coach Cavanaugh.

Early detection and educating yourself about breast cancer can be two of the best possible “medicines” toward fighting the disease.   Women in their 20’s and 30’s should have clinical breast exams at least every 3 years.   Screening mammograms should begin at the age of 40.  Remember, once is not enough – the key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely each year.   The Pink Zone Game is a great opportunity for attendees to come together and unite as one community to raise awareness, remember those touched by breast cancer and celebrate the many survivors.

Aggressive Behavior in Healthcare

They Protected You From COVID. Now They Need Protection from You?

 The last few years have been difficult to say the least. The many changes that came because of COVID and everything that went with it have resulted in frayed nerves, high stress levels and mounting frustrations. Our staff feel it and so do our patients. Even though we have very little control over the many situations that cause some of these stressors, our staff often bear the brunt of people’s frustration and anger, in person and over the phone. We want to promote a good work environment and a place of heal-ing, but abuse destroys that for everyone. It destroys that for staff who are caring for you and for patients who are here to rest and recover. We are appealing to our community for help in ensuring our healthcare facilities are a safe place for our staff, without the fear of aggression, verbal abuse, or violence.

According to the International Association of Healthcare safety and security, “healthcare workers are five times more likely to be a victim of workplace violence than those in other occupations.” The rise in people’s threatening behavior has risen exponentially in the ER as wait times for treatment grow. Staff members are being yelled at, sworn at, threatened, and even assaulted physically. This is not OK. This kind of behavior threatens the trust and the healing partnership we need to have with our patients and their families and causes additional fear and anxiety for the staff, patients and families who hear and see these altercations take place.

Stress is already high when someone presents for care, especially in the emergency department, and people are generally not in a good frame of mind, but currently there is a disproportionate amount of anger sur-rounding delays, safety policies, visitation, and masking. We remind our staff the anger from patients is not really directed at them, but we also need to protect our staff. Work should never include being verbally or physically assaulted. We know that people are frustrated with the situation and are taking it out on the person in charge. We understand the challenges that patients are facing and the frustration that comes with that. However, people need to understand that what is happening here is happening across the state and across the country and most issues are out of the control of our direct care staff.


DECH and CCH CEO, Steve Lail, “We do our best to meet the needs of our patients and we deal the best we can with circumstances that are beyond our control. People yelling, being disruptive, and getting aggressive with our staff cannot be allowed. So, we must ask that people be more tolerant. It is on us as a community to protect our healthcare workers. Staff are people too. They are just doing their jobs. Taking care of you is part of that job, but tolerating abuse is not. To protect and retain our staff and make sure we continue to have staff to take care of our patients, WE, as a community, must change directions and get back on the road to civility. We need to reset the expectations of our community.”


DECH and CCH CNO, John Marshall, RN, “Instances of aggressive behavior from patients and family are being seen across our organization from the emergency department to provider offices to outpatient services and inpatient care. It is often connected to things we can’t fix such as masking, visitor policies and wait times. No one should come to work and be shouted at and sworn at, it’s not acceptable. Every patient deserves respect and courtesy, but so do staff. We have a responsibility to be kind to one another. We know it can be frustrating when you or a loved one is unwell, but we are just trying to do our job and provide the best care.”


Remember, everything that is taking place in our area is taking place across Maine and across the country. And, it is not just healthcare experiencing this, it is felt throughout most organizations throughout the nation. Let’s reset and work together for the health of our community to foster healing environments throughout our organizations and provide a safe space for our staff to provide the best care.

Mammography Services Resume at CCH

Calais Community Hospital is pleased to announce the return of digital mammography services at the hospital.  The service has been on hiatus due to lack of staffing.  Beginning in January, mammograms will once again be available locally on Thursdays and Fridays.  Mammography certified radiology technologist Billie Jo Ham will be returning to CCH to provide the service each week.   Billie Jo has many years of experience and is dedicated to excellence in patient care provided in a friendly and compassionate manner.  “I’m very excited to reinstate this line of service for our patients and our community,” stated Billie Jo Ham B.S., R.T. (R).  “And selfishly I’m very happy to be able to return to Calais and see my patients.”

If you are due for a mammogram and have been putting it off, contact your primary care provider about sending a referral to CCH.  Start the New Year by taking care of yourself and checking that item off your to do list.   Many women in our community have postponed this vital screening during the time the mammogram service was suspended.  It is an important screening to get up to date on.  If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival.  Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years.

To the women in our community – remember to take care of yourselves so you can continue to care for those you love.

To the men in our community – remind the women important in your life that screenings are essential and help them remember to schedule it.

Protect your health and support your local hospital and its staff by requesting a mammogram referral to Calais Community Hospital from your primary care provider today.

 

CCH Nursing Service Manager Luann Reppert Retires

Luann was born in Bethlehem Pennsylvania on December 7, 1957.  She was raised in Bethlehem with her two younger brothers.  Her father spent his entire career with the local post office, while her mom had every teenage girls dream job working in the office of Piercing Pagoda providing Luann and her friends with the newest jewelry and a sweet discount!

     Prior to her career in nursing, Luann worked various jobs in the healthcare field such as pharmacy tech, house parent for mentally and physically handicapped children, and assisting adult cerebral palsy clients transition to living on their own through the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation.  Eventually Luann returned to school, earning her nursing diploma from St Luke’s School of Nursing in 1991.  A couple decades later she once again picked up the books and earned her Bachelors in Nursing degree from DeVry University / Chamberlain College of Nursing in 2013.   During her career she has worked in various roles including cardiac nursing, emergency and med/surg staff, case management, inpatient manager and nursing management.

Luann met her husband Bill at the Broadway Tavern in Pennsylvania on a Monday night while Bill was busy watching football.    They were married on August 1, 1977 and traveled all over different parts of the United States until returning back to Pennsylvania to welcome their first son Levi Reppert on December 29, 1985 in Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania.   As a family they moved to Lakeland Florida when Levi was 7 and welcomed their second son William (Bill) Reppert on April 25, 1994. They lived in Lakeland for 9 years and moved to Satellite Beach Florida for an additional 5 years.

In 2007 the Reppert’s moved to Princeton, Maine. Luann worked at Calais Regional Hospital as a night shift supervisor and then transitioned to the Inpatient Care Unit Manager. They loved the Maine outdoors and enjoyed all Maine had to offer like ice fishing, being outdoors and sitting around the fire with family and friends.    Maine was wonderful but Luann and Bill missed Satellite Beach. Levi stayed in Maine in the family home while Luann and both the Bill’s moved back to Florida.

In 2017 Luann and Bill found out they were going to be grandparents! Levi and his wife Jamie were expecting a baby girl.  Naturally, the soon to be grandparents desired to be back in Maine close to their family.  In 2018 they bought a house in Baileyville where they still reside.

Luann and Bill have 2 dogs Snoop and Nadja, 1 cat Edna and Ricky the tortoise. They now have 4 grandchildren Cameron, Faith, Elaine and Ada.   Luann enjoys baking, canning, fishing, hunting, BBQ’s, the beach, backyard fires and anything outdoors.   She will surely keep herself busy in retirement and looks forward to seeing her family more and enjoying her grandbabies.  One thing Luann hates to do is clean, so Bill plans on teaching her a few new tricks so he can now transition some household chores her way.  However, Luann says why mess with perfection when he’s already doing such a great job!

Congratulations Luann and Happy Retirement!

CCH Begins Fundraising for Digital Mammography Equipment Upgrade

Calais Community Hospital is excited to kick off fundraising efforts to update its digital mammography equipment with a $10,000 donation from the CCH Auxiliary.  The goal of the campaign is to raise half of the funds from individuals, businesses, and foundations towards the $375,000 new digital mammography unit.  The hospital will fund the remaining portion of the purchase.  “The CCH Auxiliary is pleased to be able to support the purchase of the new mammography equipment,” stated CCH Auxiliary President Kathy MacLaughlin. “Access to quality mammogram services is good for preventative health and important for our community.” 

CCH Auxiliary President Kathy MacLaughlin (l) and CCH Auxiliary Treasurer Art Carter (r) present DeeDee Travis, CCH Community Relations Director with a $10,000 donation towards the campaign to upgrade the Digital Mammography Equipment at the hospital.

Each year over 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Meaning many of us know someone; a mother, sister, friend, who has had it.   Mammography is an important tool used to screen for and diagnose breast cancer.  If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival.  Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years.

Although still operatable, the hospital’s current mammogram system was installed in 2010 and is due for replacement.   The new digital mammography equipment will have the latest technology, including 3D tomosynthesis diagnostic accuracy at the same low dose as a 2D view.  The system has a patient focused comfort design with a variety of paddles to accommodate all women.  Enhanced ergonomics and workflows make the technologists jobs easier, enabling a faster and smoother experience for both patient and staff.

CCH is working to ensure continued local access to advanced imaging equipment such as digital mammography, so community members are able to receive their care here, at home. Especially as some may find a hardship in accessing the service if travel is required, or, even worse, may opt not to follow up with recommended screenings.  We have found this to be true currently while our mammogram services have been suspended due to a lack of mammogram certified staff.  A plan is in the works to bring mammogram staff to CCH one to two days a week beginning in January 2023.

The hospital has and is investing in the future of this area through improvements in our facilities, technology, and services.   Join us as we work to sustain CCH as a resource where all people can turn for excellent medical treatment and compassionate care.  Show your support in us as we do in you and consider a donation to support the new digital mammography equipment.  For more information or to submit a donation, contact DeeDee Travis in the CCH Community Relations office at 207-454-9227.