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.
The Calais Community 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.
The CCH 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!
As Coronavirus (COVID-19) becomes more of a concern in
our State, Calais Community 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
Temporary changes to our
Visitors Policy are being implemented.
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:
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. CCH 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:
I am writing on behalf of the Calais Community Hospital (CCH) to assure you that the health and safety of our patients, guests, employees and community remains CCH’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. CCH 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.
Although the risk to the public remains low for the
Coronavirus, Calais Community 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
CCH 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 CCH 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
The CCH 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.
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.
Calais Community 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 Community 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.
On September 17, 2019, Calais Community 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 Community Hospital (CCH).
Over the last several years, in spite of the numerous steps CCH 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 CCH’s outpatient offices.
“Our dedication to the health of our patients remains our priority.” said Dr. Peter Wilkinson, long-term internist at CCH. “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.”
Calais Community 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 Community 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 Community 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 Community Hospital (CCH) need to file for bankruptcy? Over the last several years, in spite of the numerous steps CCH 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 CCH 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 Community Hospital for your health care needs.
What happens when CCH 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.
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 CCH last month. Mr. Jones was so pleased with the results he
came back last week for Dr. Young’s second CCH surgical day to have his other
described a positive experience with the CCH 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 CCH Surgical nurses caring for them as well. The CCH 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
If you have
questions about the services available in the CCH Surgery Department call
454-9230 or, for information and appointments for cataract services call Vision
Care of Maine directly at 945-6200.