Down East Community Hospital
11 Hospital Drive, Machias, ME 04654
Phone: 207.255.3356

DEC News

Down East Community is 100% committed to providing the healthcare services that match the needs of Washington County.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kristen Barbee has joined our physician practices and will begin seeing patients in January at the Reid Emery Building in Machias and at the Milbridge Medical Center.  Dr. Barbee is a Family Practitioner that sees patients of all ages.
For appointments in Machias, call 255-4567.
For appointments in Milbridge, call 546-2392
Down East Community Our Health Our Hospital.
For Immediate Release 01/17/14
Contact:           Julie Hixson
Down East Community Hospital on 2013 Harvard Pilgrim Honor Roll
Machias – Down East Community Hospital was one of 32 hospitals in New England that made Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Hospital 2013 Honor Roll this year.  The Honor Roll recognizes those adult, acute care hospitals whose performance was among the top 25% of those measured nationally on a set of composite quality and patient experience measures, as reported by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Hospital Compare and Leapfrog patient safety measures. 
Honor Roll hospitals are noted in Harvard Pilgrim’s printed and online provider directories as well as on the organization’s web site (, enabling consumers to evaluate and select hospitals based on quality and safety performance. 
For Immediate Release  01/17/2014
Contact:           Julie Hixson
Photo Cutline:  Cheryl Peele, RN and Amanda Backman, RN achieve higher education certifications.
Machias - Amanda Backman, an RN on the Obstetrics Unit at Down East Community Hospital, recently obtained her Lactation Counselor Training Certification.  This course is a forty five hour course designed to provide a solid, up-to-date, research based body of information regarding lactation as well as the art of counseling.  This certification is awarded by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice.  Breastfeeding is an important public health issue and the World Health Organization recommends that health care workers be educated in skills necessary to support breastfeeding families.  
Cheryl Peele, an RN in the Operating Room, recently obtained her specialty Nursing Certification in the OR (CNOR).  For the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), CNOR certification is the gold standard.  Earning the CNOR credential is a mark of distinction and a highly sought after personal as well as professional accomplishment.  The CNOR certified nurses are committed to providing the highest quality care to their surgical patients. 
“We are excited that Amanda has completed her certification and will share her specialized knowledge and counseling about optimal and sub-optimal breastfeeding to our patients as well as our staff and that Cheryl has achieved her certification and joins six other registered nurses at Down East Community Hospital whom have this prestigious accomplishment,” stated CEO Doug Jones
“By achieving these certifications these nurses demonstrate dedication and continued commitment to providing the highest care to our patients at Down East Community Hospital.  Please join me in congratulating Amanda Backman RN and Cheryl Peele RN here at Down East Community Hospital,” Rob Janssen, CNO
For Immediate Release 01/03/14
Contact:           Julie Hixson
Photo Cutline:  A Section of the Swing Bed Rehabilitation Room at Down East Community Hospital
Down East Community Hospital to Offer New Service
(Machias ) Down East Community Hospital begins its Swing Bed Program the week of January 6, 2014.
CEO, Doug Jones, announced “Now that we have a successful survey of our Swing Bed Program behind us, we have been given further clarification by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that there is no need to wait for a final letter from them to implement our program.  No deficiencies were found during the survey and I’m confident that we can do a great job with this service that will be so beneficial to our community and our patients.  Programs like these are developed because of the growing need for short-term, skilled nursing care in rural communities and to better utilize hospital beds already available; this program will make a positive contribution to our bottom line.”
The Swing Bed Program provides short term care in a hospital setting for a variety of patients who need care after hospitalization for an acute problem.  For instance, if a patient’s condition has stabilized but is not ready to go home yet, they may be eligible for the Swing Bed Program.  This program exists to meet the needs of patients who are in a transition phase of illness or recovery, but whose condition no longer requires admission to an acute care unit.  The Swing Bed Program provides rehabilitation and recovery services based on each patient’s individual needs.
The advantages to the patient are continued direct and immediate physician services and the ability to stay in the same room with the same familiar nurses while receiving physical, occupational or speech therapy services.  Reconditioning and activities of daily living are provided to ensure a smooth transition to the patient’s highest potential including social services and detailed discharge planning in a hospital that was recently recognized by The Leapfrog Group as one of the top rural hospitals in America.
The Swing Bed Program is covered by Medicare and most major insurance companies.
For Immediate Release 01/03/14
Contact:          Julie Hixson
Photo Cutline: Kooper, Kurt, Ashlei and Piper
Columbia Family Proud Parents of New Year’s Baby at DECH
Machias - On January 3 at 6:04 am Piper Elizabeth Look Guptill became the first baby born at Down East Community Hospital for the year 2014.  Piper, pictured above with her parents Kurt and Ashlei and big brother Kooper weighed in at 9 lbs, 2 ozs.  “I had a wonderful experience here; all of the staff were just great” said Ashlei about their experience at Down East Community Hospital.
Even blizzard like conditions couldn’t keep maternal grandparents Bimbo and Letitia Look from arriving at the hospital for their Granddaughter’s birth.  Paternal grandparents Bill and Carol Guptill stayed home to care for brother Kooper and so they got to share Kooper’s first visit with Piper not long after she was born.  Two year old Kooper has already claimed his sister as “his baby”.
The gift basket that was presented to the family was filled with donations made by the following local area businesses: Bangor Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Berry Vines, Bella Vita, Bluebird Restaurant, Down East Credit Union, EBS, Helen’s Restaurant, Machias Dental, Machias Friendly Pharmacy, Machias Hardware, Machias Cleaning and Laundry Center, Machias Savings Bank, Main Street Discount, Parlin Gardens, Subway Restaurant, Tom’s Mini Mart, Pineo’s True Value, and Whole Life Natural Market.
For Immediate Release 12/4/13
Contact:           Julie Hixson
Photo Cutline:  Mary Fisher, RN, (second from right) who represented DECH at the Leapfrog award ceremony in Washington DC is pictured accepting the award from the Leapfrog Group Executive Staff.
DECH Chosen as a Top Rural Hospital
Machias – Down East Community Hospital received special news this week when The Leapfrog Group, a healthcare quality watchdog organization in Washington DC, announced that we were among their “Top Rural Hospitals.”  There were only 22 chosen in the entire nation.  Our state was represented on this list by nine of its rural hospitals. The next most successful state was Tennessee with four hospitals.
The results were announced at the Leapfrog Group’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC on the afternoon of December 3, 2013. This hospital quality award is widely cited as the nation's most competitive quality designation and recognizes hospitals that deliver the highest quality care by preventing medical errors, reducing mortality for certain procedures and reducing readmissions for patients being treated for conditions like pneumonia and heart attack. Of special note was the increase by 69% in the number of rural hospitals who qualified for the 2013 Top Hospitals list along with 55 urban hospitals and 13 children's hospitals.
According to Leah Binder, President and CEO of Leapfrog, “The larger group of rural hospitals represented, including several critical access hospitals, shows us that any hospital in America can achieve the highest standards of quality and safety, and any community, no matter how small, can benefit from top-notch health care."
The Leapfrog Group is a national, nonprofit organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans. In Maine the Maine Health Management Coalition utilizes results from Leapfrog in determining quality in Maine hospitals along with several other sources including the HCAHPS patient satisfaction survey.
According to CEO Doug Jones in an email to staff, “I have often said to you that I am proud of your good work. I am proud because I see it every day either during my rounds or through data contained in our quality and patient safety and patient satisfaction reports. But to have a nationally recognized authority on health care quality recognize you for your good work is such a profound validation of your best efforts.”
For Immediate Release 10/18/13
Contact:           Julie Hixson
Photo Cutline:  Governor LePage Talking with …………
Governor LePage Visits Down East Community Hospital
Machias – On Thursday, October 17 Governor Paul LePage and Senator Dave Burns began their visit to Down East Community Hospital with CEO, Doug Jones, thanking the Governor for paying the debt owed to Maine hospitals.
While visiting various hospital departments, the Governor heard from doctors, patients and staff about the importance of this rural, community hospital.  Nancy Neilson, a patient in the hospital, met with Governor LePage to communicate the importance of Down East Community Hospital to the community as a whole as well as to her and her family.
During a meeting with CEO Doug Jones and his leadership team topics, discussed were the vulnerability of rural health care and the cavernous gap between policymakers and nurses/practitioners at the bedside.
“We are appreciative that Governor LePage and Senator Burns took the time to visit our hospital and hear about the struggles of rural hospitals and to hear first hand from doctors, patients and staff how crucial the healthcare provided by this hospital is to our patients and to Washington County.”
For Immediate Release 09/20/13
Contact:           Julie Hixson
Local Companies Help DECH Paint the Night Pink
Machias – With the help of Viking Lumber and Elmer’s Discount, Down East Community Hospital will “Paint the Night Pink” October 3 at 7:00pm for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  The community is invited to join us at the front of the hospital for a small ceremony dedicated to all the lives that have been touched with breast cancer and then watch as we light the hospital pink!
We are asking our community to help us in our effort by bringing a little pink to their own neighborhood.  You can purchase a pink light bulb from Viking Lumber in Machias or Milbridge, Elmer’s Discount in Columbia, and the Down East Community Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop and then switch out your porch light for the month of October.
For more information, call Julie Hixson at 255-0225.
Down East Community Hospital has been granted Tier 1 Status by the Maine State Employee Health Commission. 

Tina Bridgham told of her battle with cancer at Down East Community Hospital on Saturday during Cancer Survivors Day.
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