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November 7, 2020

Calais Regional Hospital received notice of the Union’s intention to strike November 18 and 19.   The hospital is very saddened that union members have chosen to strike at a time when we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic bearing down our on community.    If union members choose to follow through with a strike, the hospital will remain operative.  Essential services will be maintained; however non-emergent or elective services may need to be temporarily suspended.   The CRH Swab and Send COVID-19 testing and pain clinic procedures are examples of such services that may have to be suspended during this two day strike. 

Last year Hospital administration began developing a detailed plan to respond to a strike notice and is confident that essential hospital services will be able to continue as usual.  Knowing a short strike is a common tactic of the union, we felt it was our due diligence to be prepared for this scenario.    There is sufficient skilled non-union staff available to provide clinical services.  If necessary, temporary skilled nurses and techs with experience covering services at striking facilities will be utilized.

We do not believe a strike will bring the parties any closer to agreement.  We have just begun to negotiate with the Technical unit. Since August multiple dates were offered by the hospital to come to the table, but were only accepted twice by the union.  The hospital offered 9 different days from August 21 to September 18 and every day from September 18 through October 16.  The union agreed to meet only on September 18 and October 16. The union offered November 10 and 12 which the hospital accepted. In the meantime, the union provided a strike notice.

The only issues that have separated the hospital and the RN’s and Medical Technologists are health insurance and paid time off.   We have offered the union the exact same health insurance and paid time off as is provided to every other hospital employee, including administrators.  Market analysis shows our insurance and paid time off benefits are in line with other healthcare organizations.  Yet, the union wants more.

This strike is at a time when our community need is high and we find it hard to picture how this choice is beneficial ‘for our patient’ or ‘patient safety’, which is a common theme misused by unions during health organization strikes – even when the dissenting issues are not based on safety.  Sound financial management is beneficial ‘for our patient’ because it enables us to be able to continue providing high quality healthcare and keep jobs in our community. 

The hospital has addressed concerns repeatedly and tried to make this a win-win situation.  CRH Administration will continue to speak up for our patients and work for the best interests of our staff as a whole, not just the 17% who are represented by the union.  We will not be deterred just because we do not agree whole heartedly with the union position or demands. We continue to offer opportunities to negotiate in good faith with the Maine State Nurses Union.   Only together can we strengthen the hospital’s financial position so we can continue to provide great care to this community.  Everyone at Calais Regional Hospital is committed to providing high-quality, safe healthcare, from our medical professionals to our administrative staff to our volunteers.  We ask that the Maine Nurses Association join us in putting our patients’ health and safety first.  

Posted in News
September 2, 2020

Calais Regional Hospital is pleased to announce the addition of a new procedure: MILD (Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression).  MILD is a new way for a spine trained physician to treat lumbar (low back) spinal stenosis.  The pain and tingling in the legs that limits mobility with standing or walking can be relieved by removing a small portion of thickened ligament without disrupting the spine’s bone structure via a short outpatient procedure performed through a very small incision. 

Dr. Jonathan Herland, pain management specialist, now offering MILD procedure at CRH.

The new procedure is being offered by Pain Management specialist Dr. Jonathan Herland.  Dr. Herland has over 20 years’ experience in interventional pain management and will be performing the procedure.   “This technique has an excellent track record for relief of spinal stenosis pain without the risks of major surgery” says Dr. Herland.

 Features and benefits of MILD include:

*Relief of leg pains associated with standing and walking

*Improved walking distance and mobility

*Little or no need for continued injections

*Outpatient procedure not requiring general anesthetic

*Covered by Medicare 

Patients that feel this procedure could benefit them can have their primary care providers send a referral for services to the CRMS Surgical Services office, or call the office at 454-8432.  For more information on MILD, visit Dr. Herland’s website at www.paineasedoctor.com or a brief informational video is available at: https://youtu.be/Ce7_NmP630E

Posted in News
July 1, 2020

Calais Regional Hospital is providing additional access for COVID-19 testing each weekday morning via the State’s DHHS Standing Order beginning Monday, July 6 at 8 a.m.   The hospital has provided testing services for COVID-19 since the pandemic begin, however patients were required to have a providers order. 

CRH is pleased to be able to offer some access to the more broad and open testing requirements provided by the DHHS Standing Order.  A team of staff has spent many hours developing a process and set up to bring this opportunity to our community members.   Access to the open testing is subject to the Standing Order remaining active and availability of supplies via hospital vendors and the CDC. 

The newly announced Standing Order by Maine DHHS provides for lab testing without an assessment or direct order from a health care provider.   It helps people who believe they have been exposed or have an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19 and who do not have a primary health care provider, cannot discuss this exposure in a timely way with their health care provider, or are visiting Maine or coming back to Maine from another state, for example.  Individuals continue to be encouraged to contact their health care provider to discuss their need for a COVID-19 test, especially if they have symptoms, and get an order for the test from their provider when indicated.   More info on the Standing Orders criteria can be found within a FAQ link at www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/COVID-19.shtml.

Where and when is this testing?

  • Where: Calais Regional Hospital Ambulance Entrance area of parking lot.  There are 10 marked parking spots for testing.
  • When: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday to Friday

What do I need to bring?

  • Individuals will remain in their vehicles throughout the entire testing process.
  • Each individual should have their own mask to wear during the intake process.
  • As there is no way to predict the number of participants, you should come prepared to possibly wait and no restrooms will be available.
  • Bring water, snacks and other items to be comfortable while waiting.

How much will this cost?

The State of Maine will cover the full costs of lab testing for any COVID-19 lab test that is done at the State CDC lab from July 1 through at least August 31, 2020.

How long will it take to hear my results?

CRH Laboratory staff will contact you with your results within one business day of receiving them from the CDC Lab.  Depending on volume, this would typically be at least 24 to 72 hours, but is dependent on the CDC Lab’s process and speed.  While waiting for results, people should stay at home and quarantine.   More complete information can be found on the Maine CDC website by searching Guidelines for Quarantine.  

Staff walking through the process before open testing begins on Monday, July 6.
Parking spaces are marked to wait for staff to come to your vehicle.
Posted in News
June 11, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis took the world, country and healthcare industry by storm.  Now, a few months in, it is becoming very evident that many patients may be continuing to forego needed medical care.   This made sense for a brief time while hospitals and provider offices navigated the COVID-19 crisis and set up safe environments.  Now, with safeguards in place, it is important for our patients to seek the care they need. 

Many of our community members have chronic illnesses that require ongoing monitoring and access to medical services.   Delaying care could lead to severe health consequences.   In addition to chronic disease management, keeping up with preventative health care such as vaccinations for your children and health screenings to detect issues while most easily treated are important too.  Contact your health care provider right away if you or a loved one has signs of a serious medical issue.  Don’t let the fear of COVID-19 keep you from getting timely and safe care in our offices or hospital. 

Don’t Delay Needed Healthcare.

The Calais Regional Hospital team is here and ready to do more for the people we serve.  Most all of our services are open and available to see patients.  We have taken a mountain of precautions to ensure everyone who enters our facilities is safe and cared for. 

Although the COVID-19 precautions will most likely be a part of our lives for some time, we cannot ignore other illnesses that could be just as deadly.  Please don’t delay your healthcare.   Feel confident to reach out and get the care you need and deserve.

Posted in News
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