CCH and DECH to Bring National Youth Speaker to Washington County Students

CCH and DECH is once again bringing in a national speaker for Washington County students.  Last Fall, area high school students attended the presentations. This time 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are being invited to share in this experience.  Four presentations will take place May 20-21 for DECH area students, and three presentations will be held May 22-23 for the CCH area students.  All area schools with 6th, 7th or 8th grade students have been invited and we hope they seize this invaluable opportunity to reach our teens.

Assisting us in bringing this opportunity to our area’s youth are Platinum Sponsors Down East Credit Union and Bar Harbor Bank & Trust as well as Gold Sponsors First National Bank and Machias Savings Bank.  The support of these area businesses will assist DECH and CCH in their efforts to continue to host these events.

How this came about – In developing long range Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) plans for 2023-2025, Calais and Down East Community Hospitals set a goal of reaching out to the youth of our communities about some of the tough topics that are prevalent in our area – mental health, substance abuse, suicide, etc.  While we really wish our children were not aware of these issues, we know they see it, some live it, many experience it every day.  Our plan is to support organizations that are already working with youth on these issues, as well as looking at new avenues to reach our youngest community members.  One of the projects we decided to take on was to bring a youth speaker to the area to provide a message of hope, be candid on these tough topics, and leave teens with some tools for dealing with such things in life. It is our plan to repeat these activities next school year as well with a speaker in the fall for high school students and another in the spring for grades 6 through 8.

The speaker – Kyle Quilausing is living proof of the power of your choices.  Born in Hilo, Hawaii, Kyle’s upbringing was ideal. He describes being brought up by his grandfather with wholesome family values and strong morals and ethics. After his grandfather introduced him to golf at the age of 5, Kyle quickly fell in love with the sport, dedicating every waking moment to perfecting his craft and becoming a six-time state golf champion, winning 16 titles, coming 4th in the world, and playing alongside Tiger Woods at ten years old. But after allowing his relative success to make him arrogant and prideful, Kyle was expelled from high school in his senior year, which became the catalyst for a downward spiral that eventually led him to become a 98-pound crystal meth addict, labeled Hawaii’s most wanted and a menace to society.

Kyle’s addiction ultimately led him to spend a decade behind bars. At what might be considered his rock bottom, he dedicated himself to his sobriety (Kyle is over fifteen years sober.) He committed to doing everything in his power to better himself so he could build a legacy of youth empowerment and education upon his release.

As a motivational speaker, Kyle is engaging and charismatic; it’s impossible not to smile when encountering Kyle’s lighthearted nature. He shares a powerful and poignant message that you are always one choice away from a different life. As a Top Youth Speaker with a powerful story of adversity, regrets, and, finally, triumph, Kyle is on a bold mission to use his real-life experiences to educate and empower the youth in making healthy, wise choices for a productive life.

Today, Kyle, a successful businessman, and motivational speaker, champions the importance of every choice we make. He’s spoken at over 200 schools in the past five years and continues to educate the youth on the life-changing power of their choices. With a vision to become the positive mentor figure that his grandfather was to him, he helps students avoid the same pitfalls that he experienced. Kyle teaches students to embrace life’s possibilities, change negative behaviors and patterns, and achieve freedom through deciding to make positive choices for their present.

Pediatric Services Now Available in Calais

Calais Community Hospital is pleased to welcome Pediatrician Dr. Joann Kaplan.  She has joined the team at Calais Community Hospital Family Medicine to provide pediatric services one day per week for our youngest patients.  A dedicated pediatrician at Down East Community Hospital, Dr. Kaplan has committed Mondays of each week to bring her pediatric expertise to the Calais area.

Dr. Kaplan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that encompasses over twenty years of experience in pediatrics.  Dr. Kaplan came to Washington County in 2023 from Wyoming where, in addition to the direct care of patients, she was responsible for the supervision of advanced practitioners, the education of medical students and residents, and the oversight of reservation school-based health outreach and clinics.

Dr. Kaplan received her medical education at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Her residency was at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center where she received additional training as the Chief Resident. Dr. Kaplan is a Fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the AAP Indian Health Special Interest Group. Dr. Kaplan’s professional interests are pediatric rheumatology, pediatric obesity, breastfeeding and lactation, and social determinants of health.

“Dr. Kaplan is a skilled provider, and we couldn’t be happier that she chose to practice in Washington County, and now extend her services to our Calais campus in addition to DECH,” shared CEO Steve Lail. “This expansion of pediatric services reflects our ongoing commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare services to our community.”

Dr. Kaplan trained and practiced in Maine for a total of 16 years and found that she missed being here. She and her husband, Paul Canny, have three children ages 19, 22, and 27.  Paul is a registered nurse at DECH in the Med/Surg Department.

If the opportunity presents itself, be sure to welcome Dr. Kaplan to the Calais Community Hospital team. To schedule an appointment for your child with Dr. Kaplan, call 454-8195 option 2.

Meet Our New Surgeon – Dr Thomas Crosslin

Calais Community Hospital is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Thomas Crosslin, MD, FACS, to the medical staff.  Dr. Crosslin has been providing coverage for surgical services at CCH since most of last year and decided to join the CCH family as a permanent provider.

Dr. Crosslin is a board-certified surgeon and looks forward to continuing to provide quality services to the people of Downeast Maine. His surgical expertise includes, but is not limited to, endoscopy, colonoscopy, laparoscopic procedures, and surgery of the abdominal cavity.

Dr. Crosslin earned his undergraduate degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN and his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, OH.   His internship and residency were completed at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA.

Dr. Crosslin, along with his younger brother and sister, was raised in a small, rural Appalachian foothill town in Tennessee.  His parents were both pharmacists and are currently retired in the area he grew up in.  His family now also includes two daughters aged 14 and 9 ½, who enjoy spending time with dad baking cookies, talking chickens, doing puzzles, and taking part in sports or CrossFit activities.   During his leisure time Dr. Crosslin enjoys getting out in nature, hiking, target shooting, CrossFit, and reading – books he can hold preferably.

After spending about 18 months on temp assignments, Dr. Crosslin was ready to settle back into a permanent practice again and chose Calais due to its proximity to his family and the people he had been caring for and working with.  “The people here are very appreciative of the care team and the hospital,” Dr. Crosslin explained.

Dr. Crosslin sees patients at the Specialty Services offices located within the Calais Hospital.  He is accepting new referrals.  If the opportunity arises, please take the opportunity to welcome him to our community.

CCH Recognizes Employees

This week a holiday dinner and Awards Recognition was sponsored by Administration for staff.  Following a great meal prepared by our dietary staff, Years of Service were recognized and the Employee of the Year nominees and winners were announced. This year the nominees were Barb McLean, Toni Clark, Donald Day, Richard Hixon, Steve McFadden, Julie Reynolds, Dr. Cressey Brazier, Vicki Moody, Amy O’Brien, Alison Perkins and Norma Lowell.  Congratulations to all who were nominated!

Our Employees of the Year for 2023 are:

Donald Day – non clinical Employee of the Year

and

Alison Perkins – clinical Employee of the Year

CCH staff nominated their peers for these awards by completing a form and providing information and specifics on why staff should be considered.   Factors considered are dependability, initiative, attitude, teamwork and how they conduct themselves as CCH staff.  Many great things were shared about all of the nominees, the following are excerpts from Donald’s and Alison’s nomination forms:

“Donald takes pride in the quality of his work.  He is very productive and it’s clear that he is very committed to his job and the organization.  Donald is always willing to lend a helping hand and has a very strong work ethic and respects his fellow coworkers at CCH.  Donald has a very positive attitude and is consistently courteous.  Donald’s attention to detail shows throughout the hospital by how clean and shiny the floors are.”

“Alison’s work ethic and commitment to the organization doesn’t go unnoticed.  Alison has been and continues to be a great resource to staff of all areas of the time organization. Alison is approachable and knowledgeable and is always on time.  She never hesitates to cover shifts and help out when needed.  Even when the ED can be in utter chaos, Alison remains professional and represents the ED and the organization in a positive way.”

Congratulations to both of our winners and thank you for the great jobs you do every day and the special way you care for our patients and your co-workers!

Years of Service recognition was also held during the Awards Ceremony.

Special recognition to our most senior employee with 46 years – Susan Casey

40 Years:  Jo-Anne Bartlett

25 Years:  Cheryl Trader and Julie Reynolds

20 Years:  Dan Daley and Joan Preston

10 Years:  Rebecca Farrar and Ausaf Tak

5 Years:  Kathy LaPlant, Laura Ackley, Madelyn Duchesneau and John Pileggi

Thank you all for your continued commitment to caring for our community members!

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.

Annual Meeting & New Board Chair

Down East Community Hospital and Calais Community Hospital held its annual meeting of the Corporators on Thursday, June 30.  CEO, Steve Lail, reported that despite the many obstacles hospitals across the country experienced in 2022, DECH and CCH operated in the black. The financial results and accomplishments from the past year were discussed and reported on at the meeting. The 2022 Annual Report, which highlights much of the hard work done by staff over the past year, is available on the DECH and CCH websites.

During the annual meeting board officers were announced and Jackie O’Clair, who most recently served as the Vice Chair and Secretary, held her first meeting as Board Chair. “Jackie has been an excellent trustee since 2018 and we look forward to working with her over the next few years. Since being a member of the board, Jackie has been active on the Finance, Governance, Quality Improvement and Safety, Compliance, and Executive committees,” said Steve Lail, CEO.

Several new board members were also approved, and they are Tom Moholland, Julie Jordan, and Jody Dennison. Tom and Julie have close ties to the Calais area, which increases the representation from the northern part of Washington County on the board. Jody is from the Machias area and is an employee of Machias Savings Bank.  Jody is the VP Accounting Manager at Machias Savings Bank, where she has worked since 1999.  In her current role she oversees the accounting function, including managing the internal control program and coordinating exams and audits. Tom is the fiscal officer for Eastern Maine Co-Op and previously worked in the finance Department of WCCC and as a CFO for Sunrise Opportunities. Julie, who is recently retired, has experience in finance investment and human recourses. She was a Director on the Washington County Development Authority board and Director of Downeast Economic Development and Executive Director at St. Croix Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Current members of the board are Jackie O’Clair, Chair, Judd Bragg, PharmD, Vice Chair, Nate Martell, Secretary, and Ian Pratt, Treasurer,  John Corrigan,  Michael Hennessey, Corey Schwinn, Betty Marshall, Tom Moholland, Julie Jordan, Jody Dennison, Christian Inegbenijie, MD, and Rita Ten, MD.

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.