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April 22, 2020

The CRH Laboratory team recently earned Zero-Deficiency certification during a CLIA inspection. A Zero-Deficiency survey is no easy task. We are very proud of our Laboratory Staff, who strive to run an out-standing department every day and who truly care about the patients that they serve!

CLIA regulates laboratory testing and requires clinical laboratories to be certificated by their state as well as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) every two years. A CLIA survey involves inspectors in the laboratory, looking in depth at different aspects of the department’s function including quality assurance, proficiency testing, quality control, and documentation. This very thorough inspection includes all areas within the lab.

This week is National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. The staff recognized the week with the newsletter below that provides some insight to the department, staff and the work they do everyday as part of the local team providing quality patient care!

Click here to view the CRH Laboratory Newsletter

Posted in News
March 27, 2020

Consistent with our ongoing efforts to protect our patients, staff and the community, the Calais Regional Hospital Visitors Policy will be restricted beginning Saturday, March 28 as indicated:

We apologize for any inconvenience or hardship this may cause. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

For more information and to learn how to protect yourself and those around you, you can visit: www.cdc.gov/COVID19

Posted in News
March 17, 2020

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) becomes more of a concern in our State, Calais Regional Hospital will institute visitor restrictions and illness screenings for those entering the facility as of March 18.  An alternate entrance for suspect Coronavirus patients has also been established.  These proactive precautions are to protect our patients, staff and the communities we serve. 

Temporary changes to our Visitors Policy are being implemented.  Restrictions include:

  • Visitors must be 12 years or older
  • Visitors must be free of flu like symptoms
  • No more than two visitors per patient.

Patients and visitors will be screened for symptoms of the flu and COVID-19.  You will not be permitted to enter if you exhibit signs or symptoms of an influenza-like illness.  These include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

There will be designated staff at entrances to guide this process.  Allow extra time if you are receiving outpatient services or visiting a patient.  Patients entering through the ED entrance will process through the normal triage process.  CRMS patients are being screened prior to appointments in the offices and upon arrival.   We understand these screenings may be an inconvenience, but it’s an important step to keep everyone safe and healthy.  

Last week the hospital established an alternate entrance for suspect Coronavirus patients to receive needed treatment or testing.   The entrance is located near the Ambulance Bay of the Emergency Department.  CRH has NOT had a positive test; however preparations such as this continue to move forward as the COVID-19 situation progresses.   The separate entrance allows quick access to care with the least exposure to the community and staff.  The process for patients who suspect they have COVID-19 is to call their primary care provider or the ED at 454-9213 for assessment and receive further instructions.   If you are having a medical emergency and call 911, please be sure to tell dispatch there is a COVID-19 concern so emergency services personnel use the appropriate precautions. These measures are part of taking every safeguard for maintaining the health of patients, staff, visitors and our community.   We ask for the public’s patience and support of these temporary measures.  Up to date information and guidance on COVID-19 is available on the CDC website:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

Posted in News
March 17, 2020

To Our Valued Patients/Guests and Employees:

I am writing on behalf of the Calais Regional Hospital (CRH) to assure you that the health and safety of our patients, guests, employees and community remains CRH’s top priority. As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is having a greater impact in the United States, our thoughts are with all people who have been affected by the virus. Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, we feel it is important to reach out to you about the steps we are taking across our Hospital to help keep our patients, guests, employees, and our communities safe and healthy.


As part of our high commitment to patient and employee safety, we established a COVID-19 committee in late January that meets weekly. Daily briefings will also be held with management and key staff as this issue is ramping up and quickly changing. Furthermore, we are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation with weekly and sometimes daily updates and guidance from the Federal and State Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as well as additional government agencies and health care providers. We are also working closely with our partners throughout the medical industry such as the AHA, NRHA, Maine Hospital Association, etc.


Our excellent Environment of Care (EOC) staff rigorously clean all of our medical rooms, meeting rooms and all public spaces several times throughout the day. Furthermore, we follow exhaustive cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection protocols that meet or exceed medical industry guidelines. These protocols, which assist with illness prevention, include:
• Regular sanitation training and reinforcement for our EOC staff;
• Clearly established cleaning and disinfection cycles for all medical service areas;
• Prominent placement of hand sanitizers and masks;
• Fast response to on demand cleaning issues; and
• Frequent cleaning and wash down of nonmedical or public areas and high touch locations, such as railings, hallways, lobby, cafeteria, etc.


Therefore, given the current concerns related to COVID-19, we are increasing our cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection frequency above our already high standards. We are reinforcing with our employees the recommended personal hygiene and precautionary steps from the CDC to prevent the spread of germs, these guidelines include:
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Cover a cough or sneeze – preferably with a disposable tissue.
• Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
• Stay home if you have flu-like symptoms.


Moreover, we are taking the necessary steps to be prepared should this issue become a more significant concern for our service area. CRH will continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations from the CDC and other health agencies as they come along. As the situation progresses, the hospital may need to limit patient visitors and/or document visitors in the event of a patient who is positive for COVID-19. Staff are following the recommended guidance of the CDC to assess and recommend treatment, while also working to limit exposure to the community at large. (see diagram below of protocols used to determine recommended treatment path).


Based on the guidance we’ve received and our general state of preparedness, we are confident our medical operations will continue to be safe and ready to serve our patients. We will continue our collaboration with health and government officials, so we are prepared to take whatever steps may be necessary to ensure the safety of our patients and staff members.


In closing, we greatly value each patient that comes to us for their medical care, and we look forward to serving you upon your next medical need.


Respectfully yours,
Rod Boula
CEO

Posted in News
February 27, 2020

Although the risk to the public remains low for the Coronavirus, Calais Regional Hospital has been following the lead of the Maine CDC in preparing for the possibility of cases.    A work group was established last month at CRH to review processes and procedures to be instituted now and in the event of a local exposure.   The work group consists of staff from nursing, lab, environmental services, infection control, quality management and more.   It is a full team effort to get ready for just in case, even though the hope is that most of the plan never has to be activated.

What you can expect now if you seek treatment at the CRH ED or any of the CRMS offices are brief screening questions about symptoms and recent travel.     The goal of the screenings would be to identify as quickly as possible the need to isolate a patient from other patients and the general public to reduce the risk of spreading virus.  

The CRH work group follows CDC guidance for screening, testing and treatment if needed.    As of this week there are currently only fourteen cases diagnosed in the United States, with the closest being in Massachusetts.  Symptoms of the Coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath that can start two to fourteen days after exposure.    Anyone with symptoms should wear a face mask, avoid contact with others, not travel, wash hands often, and cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing.   Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms to allow the best precautions to be taken for intake to the facility.  Further information and updates is available on the Maine CDC website.

Posted in News
January 30, 2020

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is providing information about the recent coronavirus outbreak that originated in central China. It’s important to note Maine has NO confirmed or suspected cases associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus. Five cases total have been identified in the United States as of January 27, 2020.

Maine CDC created and regularly updates a webpage with information about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Visit the webpage at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that the immediate risk of contracting this novel virus remains low in the United States. There are currently advisories for travel to China, and airport screening for individuals returning from the affected area to provide education and medical support. The best preventive measures are to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and stay home when you feel sick.

Posted in News
January 27, 2020
Dr. James Eshleman joins
CRMS Family Medicine

Calais Regional Medical Services is pleased to announce that Dr. James Eshleman has joined the Family Medicine office.   He will be seeing patients at the CRMS practice on a part time basis 2-3 days per week.   Dr. Eshleman spent over four decades at his family practice office in Norway, Maine.  Following retirement he was able to spend more time at his vacation camp in West Grand Lake.   However, after three weeks he decided full retirement was not for him and reached out to Calais Regional Hospital to offer his services.  

Dr. Eshleman earned his D.O. from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and served his post graduate training at the Osteopathic Hospital of Maine in Portland.  He is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.   He served as Medical Director at many of the nursing homes around the Norway, Maine area for over 40 years and served as a preceptor for Tufts Medical Students for 9 years. 

Dr. Eshleman’s family includes his wife of 46 years, Louise, six children, fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.   Much of the family remains in the State with a few scattered as far away as New Jersey and New York.   In their down time, he and his wife enjoy spending time at camp, hunting (which he describes as taking his gun for a walk) and fishing (he honestly confesses that Louise is better than he is).   With his semi-retirement he hopes to be able to travel and see Alaska, the Grand Canyon and Italy – for his wife, because “If she’s smiling, I’m smiling.”  

Dr. Eshleman states his experience in the area has been a positive one and he is very pleased to be here.  “I feel at home and I’m excited to bring my services to the area,” he shared.    Dr. Eshleman began seeing patients in December.  To schedule an appointment with him, call 454-8195, option 1.  Please give both Dr. & Mrs. Eshleman a warm welcome when the opportunity presents itself.

Posted in News
September 17, 2019

On September 17, 2019, Calais Regional Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine.  The hospital will remain open and operating as usual during the bankruptcy process, which is expected to last approximately 12 months.

Filing for Chapter 11 protection during debt reorganization enables the hospital to continue providing high-quality health care in local communities and to keep jobs in the region. Chapter 11 is also a tool to restructure legacy and operational debt. The hospital currently employs over 275 people and is the largest employer in Calais.

Hospital administrators expect minimal impact on operations and staff during Chapter 11. They have requested permission from the presiding court to pay employees in the ordinary course of business. This is a typical request that is granted in Chapter 11. No layoffs are planned.  Restructuring debt will allow the hospital to emerge from Chapter 11 protection on better financial footing.

“The hospital is not closing.  We remain committed to providing exceptional patient care during the Chapter 11 process. All departments are operating as usual and our talented team is focused on delivering high-quality health care services to our community,” said Rod Boula, chief executive officer of Calais Regional Hospital (CRH).

Over the last several years, in spite of the numerous steps CRH has taken to operate more efficiently, a combination of local and national factors have created conditions that have made debt restructuring in Chapter 11 a necessary step. These factors, including downward trending of utilization, high levels of charity care and bad debt, inadequate reimbursements, and increasing regulatory requirements have all contributed to significant losses. 

The hospital has reduced losses from -$2.64 million in 2014 to approximately -$574,600 in 2018. 

“We expect a prompt and efficient reorganization, and to emerge from Chapter 11 restructuring a stronger hospital,” continued Boula. “With continued community support and steady utilization of our services, we can stabilize this hospital and provide high-quality health care to the region now and in the years to come.” 

Patients coming to the hospital will continue to get care and should see no change in how they receive care at the hospital or any of CRH’s outpatient offices. 

“Our dedication to the health of our patients remains our priority.” said Dr. Peter Wilkinson, long-term internist at CRH. “Our team of providers and caregivers will continue to work diligently to ensure that we are providing the best care possible to the people of our region.”

KEY POINTS

  • Calais Regional Hospital is not closing.  During bankruptcy, employees get paid, and hospital services will continue without interruption.  Patient health and safety remain our top priority. 
  • By entering the bankruptcy process and restructuring debt, Calais Regional Hospital will emerge a stronger and more resilient hospital.  The goal is to ensure that the community will continue to have hospital services close to home.
  • During the bankruptcy process, day-to-day operations will stay the same, so if you come to the emergency room, for example, you will receive excellent care and you won’t notice any difference in our ability to help you get well.  If you have a scheduled appointment with your provider, your visit will be unchanged.
  • Bankruptcy is the best option to ensure that Calais Regional Hospital can continue to provide high quality health care and keep jobs in the community. Restructuring strengthens the hospital’s long-term financial position and gives the hospital better options moving forward. 

WHAT CAN THE COMMUNITY DO TO HELP?
You can support the hospital and 281 local jobs by using our services.  Next time you need medical care, come see us. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is the hospital going to close? 
No. Our goal is to ensure that hospital services continue to be available in northeastern Washington County.  Bankruptcy is a restructuring process that occurs along-side normal day-to-day hospital operations. We aren’t closing our doors. Patients will continue to get care, employees will be paid, and the hospital will run normally.

Will there be layoffs?
No layoffs are planned within the bankruptcy process. We continue to monitor our overall effectiveness at providing excellent care for our patients and will adjust operations as needed.

Why does Calais Regional Hospital (CRH) need to file for bankruptcy?
Over the last several years, in spite of the numerous steps CRH has taken to operate more efficiently, a combination of local and national factors have created conditions that have made bankruptcy a necessary step. These factors, including downward trending of utilization, high levels of charity care and bad debt, inadequate reimbursements, increasing regulatory requirements, and high-cost temporary providers have all contributed to significant losses.  Health care delivery is rapidly evolving and reimbursements are not evolving fast enough to keep up with the expenses associated with rural access to critical hospital services.

Will services be cut?
We do not plan to cut services at this time. In order to continue to provide high quality health care to our patients and keep jobs in the region, we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our operations and service lines will be aligned to regional demand. 

How long will this bankruptcy process last?
Approximately 12 months, however, the Chapter 11 process can be longer or shorter depending on several factors.

Are there other options besides bankruptcy?
Other options were thoroughly explored and none offered a path to long-term stability as effectively or quickly as the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.  Chapter 11 is a commonly used tool in the life-cycle of a business that gives a fundamentally sound organization the option of restructuring its debt.  In our case, we have worked diligently over the last few years to reduce losses and improve operating efficiency to the point where Chapter 11 is an option. 

Even with bankruptcy, can the hospital afford to stay open?
Yes.  Several factors are helping us improve our balance sheet and “right-size” expenses and revenue. We have a solid business plan in place and with increased community utilization of our services, we fully expect CRH to exit bankruptcy on stronger financial footing. 

What can the community do to help?
We have served this region for over 100 years.  We value our relationship with our patients and we remain dedicated to providing exceptional care, close to home.  You can help us by choosing Calais Regional Hospital for your health care needs.

What happens when CRH exits bankruptcy?
When we emerge from bankruptcy, we will be on much stronger financial footing.  Financial health and long term viability gives us many more options for partnering, collaborating, and finding the best solutions to serve the ever-changing health care needs of the community.  

Posted in News
June 12, 2019

If he hadn’t of come here (Calais) I don’t know when I would have gotten this done,” says Dennis Jones of Pembroke when speaking about his recent cataract procedures.   Mr. Jones was the first patient treated by Vision Care of Maine’s Dr. Curt Young when he began providing cataract surgical services at CRH last month.    Mr. Jones was so pleased with the results he came back last week for Dr. Young’s second CRH surgical day to have his other eye completed. 

Dennis Jones of Pembroke was the first cataract surgery patient at CRH.  He is pictured above with Dr. Curt Young of Vision Care of Maine.   Cataract Surgeries are now available monthly at CRH.
 

Mr. Jones described a positive experience with the CRH surgical staff and Dr. Young – and a great outcome of tremendously better eyesight.  

Other patients treated last week described very similar experiences:

“Before I even got out of the chair I could see.  It was unbelievable.  This has opened up a new world for me.”  —  John Baxter, Eastport.

“I had no vision before and can’t believe how well I can see now.  They are an amazing bunch of staff and doctor.”  —  Richard Petty, Waite.

Along with Dr. Young, community members can expect to see the familiar faces of CRH Surgical nurses caring for them as well.   The CRH Surgery Department staff worked diligently over several months preparing for this service and is excited to add cataract surgery to the list of offerings available locally.    

“We have found our model of bringing this state-of-the-art surgery closer to home for our patients invaluable in restoring vision and profoundly convenient,” stated Cristy Hewitt, RN, Director of Clinical and Surgical Services for Vision Care of Maine. “Dr. Young and the rest of our physicians proudly look forward to offering surgical consultations and surgery now in Calais.”

If you have questions about the services available in the CRH Surgery Department call 454-9230 or, for information and appointments for cataract services call Vision Care of Maine directly at 945-6200. 

Posted in News
June 5, 2019

At a special meeting of the Calais Regional Hospital (CRH) Board of Trustees, proposed changes to the organization’s by-laws were approved.   Twenty of the thirty-seven voting members were present for the vote.

The most prominent and substantial modification was the addition of term limits for the Board of Directors.   Prior to this change there were no term limits.  With this update, Directors may serve for three consecutive three year terms, then, must have at least one year off as a Director before being eligible to serve again.  The new term limits will be staggered in to ensure the entire Board of Directors is not stepping down at once.    “The new term limits will allow enough time for people to learn the organization, be connected and be able to make meaningful contribution,” stated Board Chair Ron McAlpine.  “But not so long that we don’t have the opportunity for new people to join at the Director level.”

These changes bring the organization more current and in line with the Maine Non-Profit Corporation Act: Title 13-B.   A national study by the American Hospital Association on health care governance showed how hospitals are rising to meet tomorrow’s challenges through redefining roles, responsibilities and board structures according to AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack.   Coincidentally, increasing the number of boards with term limits was listed as an opportunity for improvement.    The CRH Board of Directors and Trustees is working diligently to be as current as possible with the changes in healthcare.

Posted in News