DECH Mammography Goes 3D

October 2022 Machias – Down East Community Hospital made the upgrade to a Senographe Pristina™ mammography unit in 2021.  This system provided 2 dimensional screenings as well as additional comfort.  We are happy to announce we purchased the upgrade to that system and can now offer 3 dimensional screenings to our patients!

This technology, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, delivers superior diagnostic accuracy at the same low dose as a 2D mammography exam.   The technology uses a low-dose short X-ray “sweep” around the positioned breast with nine exposures acquired with a “step-and-shoot” method. This helps remove any movement of the x-ray tube, reducing blur and increasing image sharpness.

Designed from the ground up with the input from women, this mammography system provides women with the “three Cs”: comfort, confidence, and clarity.  Even the machine itself is designed to resemble not just a piece of medical equipment, but a piece of art, with rounded edges and elegant lighting. But the design is more than just aesthetic; the gentle, rounded corners of the image receptor, where the woman’s breast is placed, completely changes the stance of the traditional mammogram for a more relaxed, comfortable screening.

The design of this equipment improves the technologist’s workflow; which improves the patient experience and leads to faster, more precise exams.

Down East Community Hospital chose the Senographe Pristina because of its reliability and optimal imaging capability.  We upgraded to 3D mammography to provide state-of-the-art imaging to our community.

DECH Lights Up The Machias Bridge

October 2022 Machias – Down East Community Hospital begun Breast Cancer Awareness month by wrapping the Machias bridge in pink lights!  Now it is time to get together for an awareness celebration.  We ask that you come join us on October 13 at 6pm as we gather for our Breast Cancer Awareness event at Bad Little Falls Park in Machias.

You are invited to a ceremony dedicated to the lives that have been touched by breast cancer and hear from our guest speaker, Holly Whitney.  Holly is a breast cancer survivor who has a story to tell and a message to share.  We will be honoring survivors and those who are no longer with us so come prepared to mention your loved ones or share your own message.

We will start the evening by meeting at the end of the Machias Bridge by Whitney’s Tri Town Marine.  There, you can pick up your battery-operated candle and line up for our short walk to Bad Little Falls Park where there will be warm cider and snacks waiting.

We are asking our community to help us in our effort by bringing a little pink to their own neighborhood.  There will be 100 pink light bulbs available at the ceremony so you can switch out your porch light with a pink one for the remainder of October.  We hope to see you at the event!

For more information, Call Julie Hixson at 255-0433.

Three Family Practice Providers Relocate to Down East Health Center in East Machias

September 2022 East Machias – Down East Community Hospital’s Family Practice Providers Belinda Barron, FNP, Sandra Manship, FNP, and Fred Hartman, MD, who practiced at the lower level of the Reid Emery Building in Machias, have relocated to the Down East Health Center at 1031 Main Street in East Machias. This move will give them added exam rooms as well as a room dedicated to lab draws!

“We apologize in advance for the inconvenience and confusion this will likely cause in the interim but are excited to offer the best accommodations for our patients and look forward to serving our community in the new location. In anticipation of questions, we would like to confirm that Pediatrics has returned to the Robertson Building on the hospital campus and that Dr. David Rioux’s practice will remain in the Reid Emery Building,” stated Bobbie Steeves, Director of Practice Management.

Our family practitioners provide continuing, comprehensive care for individuals of all ages. They deliver a wide range of acute, chronic, and preventive medical care services. In addition to diagnosing and treating illnesses, they also provide preventive care, including routine checkups, immunizations and screening tests, and work with individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The phone number for family practice providers at the Down East Health Center is 207-255-2772.

Down East Community Hospital’s Annual Flu Shot Clinic Comes to an End, For a Positive Reason

September 2022 Machias – Access to Influenza vaccines has increased greatly over the years and that is good news for our community.  Down East Community Hospital began its annual flu shot clinic to address a lack of access.  As the years progressed the number of shots provided by the clinic steadily declined.  More people have received their shots as early as August at local pharmacies such as Walgreen’s, Machias Family Pharmacy, and Hannaford and that is in addition to the many who receive their shots at their local provider’s office.  Because of this, we have opted to focus our efforts to other community health issues such as food insecurity, health screenings, and prevention of child suicides.  We will redirect these funds to support those needs.

We will continue to have vaccine clinics for our patients at Milbridge Medical Center and Arnold Memorial Medical Center and have vaccines available at all our provider offices.

Whether you get your vaccination from your primary care provider or at one of the many other locations, we urge you to get your flu shot. Influenza is a contagious disease that spreads every year. It is mainly transmitted by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get the flu and spread the flu. Each year thousands of people die from influenza so help protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated.

We are excited to develop new programs to support our community’s needs.

DECH Sponsors the Roque Bluffs Community Center’s Fundraiser Event for the Machias Food Pantry

July 2022 Machias – Down East Community Hospital CEO, Steve Lail, presents fundraisers Arline Smith and Tammi Aiello with $1,500.00 for the Roque Bluffs Community Center’s August event to raise funds for the Machias Area Food Pantry.

The goal of the fundraiser is to raise enough money to buy a large refrigerator and a freezer for the Machias Food Pantry.  The fun packed event will take place at Roque Bluffs State Park on Saturday, August 13 from 10am to 4pm.  Lunch will be provided and there will be games, face painting and prizes. And, a Bagpiper will be playing at 1pm! The cost to attend is just $7.00 per person and all proceeds will go to the Machias Food Pantry.

CEO, Steve Lail, “The food pantries have always provided an invaluable service to the community.  The need is increasing so it is more important than ever to give so they can continue to help those who are food insecure.  We hope they have a huge turnout for the event and are very thankful for the individuals and groups out there like the Roque Bluffs Community Center who donate their time to help those in need.”

Newly Expanded Orthopedic Building Open for Patients

June 2022 Machias – Down East Community Hospital is pleased to announce that our newly expanded and renovated Orthopedic Building is complete and open for patients.

CEO, Steve Lail, on the expansion, “The original building could no longer accommodate the growth that was taking place in the practice. The providers and staff needed room to do their work and the close quarters made it difficult for patients to navigate.  Something had to change; we needed to expand. This new space is great for our providers and staff but most importantly, because of easier access to the building and exam rooms, it is great for our patients.”

The expansion project that broke ground in early spring more than doubled the space of the existing building.  There are now seven spacious exam rooms, an office for each provider, a large waiting room, three bathrooms, and a fully furnished breakroom for staff.

An open house will be held on June 29 from 4:30 to 6:00pm.  We hope you can stop by take a little tour, meet the staff, and enjoy some refreshments.

Calais Community Hospital Hosts One-Year Anniversary Celebration

June 2022 Calais – Calais Community Hospital is hosting a special celebration to commemorate its one-year anniversary as a member of the Down East Community Hospital organization.   A thank you BBQ is being held for staff and community members for the support received throughout the last year.

The event will take place on July 1, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the lower parking at the hospital.  It will celebrate a year of collaboration and commitment to serving the residents of Washington County and recognizing the hospital’s 100 plus year legacy in the community.

Calais Community Hospital CEO, Steve Lail, said, “Just a year ago the hospital was in the midst of bankruptcy and struggling with low volumes and low resources.   The acquisition by DECH brought a lot of hard work and some tough decisions, but CCH is now moving in a positive direction.  We truly have reason to celebrate.”

As a result, Calais Community Hospital has kept its doors open, ensuring ongoing access to vital care and services and providing benefits to both staff and patients.

Lail stated, “Among Calais Community Hospital’s first year achievements are the recruitment of new providers, including an orthopedic surgeon to bring back the orthopedic program to Calais and a full time general surgeon; upgrades to the radiology department; a new MRI machine, new testing equipment in the lab and provider offices to test for covid, flu and rsv onsite; and positive wage adjustments for staff across the organization to more accurately reflect appropriate market level.   Steadying the financial condition of the hospital has stabilized jobs for over 175 employees, which has a positive economic and employment ripple effect throughout the area.    Keeping the hospital thriving and viable is not just important to the physical health or our community members, but also to the economic health of our area.”

The celebration on July 1 will commemorate a year of new beginnings and celebrate a future of hope, healing, and shared commitment to serving the healthcare needs of the community.   “We are honored to continue the legacy of healthcare in Eastern Washington County through Calais Community Hospital as an essential community partner comprised of committed providers and staff dedicated to improving health,” said CEO Steve Lail.

Carole Cook Donovan Donates $10,000 to DECH’s Comfort Care Suite

January 2022 Machias – Stuart Donovan, from Englishman’s Bay in Jonesport, visited Down East Community Hospital at the end of December to deliver a check in the amount of $10,000 for the Comfort Care Suite in memory of his wife.  Stuart’s wife, Carole M. Donovan, who passed away on April 30, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer, told her husband she wanted to donate to the suite. “This is what my wife wanted, and this is what I’m doing”, stated Mr. Donovan when presenting the check.

CEO, Steve Lail, on the donation, “We are very appreciative of this donation to the Comfort Care Suite. Because of Carole’s generosity, we will be able to upgrade the suite and add amenities that will make it even more comfortable.  For instance, we are in much need of a sleeper recliner for the patient room so a family member can stay comfortably by their loved one’s side.  We also need a new table and chairs for the eating nook in the family room.  All items purchased will benefit families for years to come and we have the Donovan family to thank for that.”

The Comfort Care Suite is dedicated to the comfort and caring of patients and their families DECH began fundraising for a Palliative Care Suite, now called the Comfort Care Suite, in 2011.  At the end of 2012, the suite was completed. Two existing hospital rooms were combined and renovated to make a comfortable, homelike suite: one room for the patient and one for their family members. A comfortable pull-out couch, recliner, kitchen, eating nook, and flat screen TV are some of the amenities that are provided for the family. This project was fully funded through the generosity of our community, staff, and physicians and donations have come in over the years dedicated to that suite.

Within our hospital, our aim is for Palliative Care services to provide comprehensive, compassionate, and coordinated care for inpatients and Emergency Department patients and their families. The Palliative Care team assists patients and their families to have a comfortable, positive, meaningful experience throughout the progression of the illness in an environment of openness, compassion, and caring.

Palliative Care is care that moves along a continuum from curative care to death. In the beginning of a chronic illness, we do everything we can to provide “curative” treatments. When the chronic illness progresses to a place where fewer and fewer treatments provide any measurable relief of symptoms, we move more towards “end of life care”.

Adam Simmons, DPM Joins Down East Community Hospital

January 2022 Machias – We are happy to announce that Adam Simmons, DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) will be practicing at our Orthopedics practice at Down East Community Hospital beginning the week of March 21, 2022.  Dr. Simmons is an established area provider and a skilled healthcare services professional.

Dr. Simmons has a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) degree and is licensed by the state. He diagnoses and treats foot diseases and deformities. He performs medical, surgical, and other operative procedures, prescribes corrective devices and physical therapy, and prescribes and administers drugs.

Services and procedures include:

  • At Risk foot care; neuropathic, diabetic, and other at-risk foot evaluations /managements
  • Clinical / surgical lower extremity wound care management
  • Clinical / surgical foot evaluations – generalized foot pain, Ingrown toenail removal, wart removal, skin lesion biopsy/ removal, arthritis, foot fractures, bunions, hammer toes, flat foot, and other foot deformities

Dr. Simmons received a B.A. in Biology from Utah Valley University and a DPM degree from Barry University in Florida. He went on to complete his FF/RRA Surgical Residency program, specializing in wound care and foot and ankle surgery.
A podiatrist is a person qualified by a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) degree. Podiatrists diagnose and treat foot diseases and deformities. They perform medical, surgical, and other operative procedures, prescribe corrective devices, and prescribe and administer drugs and physical therapy. Podiatrists are also referred as foot doctors and/or chiropodist.  Podiatrists can be the first to identify systemic diseases in patients, such as diabetes and vascular disease.

To make an appointment with Dr. Simmons, call 255-0404.


DECH Receives Two 2022 Awards from the Women’s Choice Award®

February Machias – Down East Community Hospital (DECH) has been named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care and for Outpatient Experience by the Women’s Choice Award®, America’s trusted referral source for the best in healthcare.  These awards signify DECH is in the top 10% of 4,728 U.S. hospitals offering emergency care and outpatient services.  DECH is one of 477 award recipients representing the hospitals that have met the highest standards for emergency care in the U.S. by the Women’s Choice Award and one of 267 award recipients representing the hospitals that have met the highest standards for outpatient experience.

DECH CEO, Steve Lail, on the awards, “We have a great team at DECH who work and support each other to give our community the great care they deserve.  Every department has experienced extra stress and strain because of the pandemic which makes this recognition even more meaningful. These awards are a testament to the caring, experienced professionals in our Emergency Department, our OR/Ambulatory Surgery Department, and all those who support them, and we are very proud of our team for providing excellent care.”

Each year, there are more than 130 million emergency room visits in the U.S.  Emergency departments continue to be an essential part of the healthcare system as they provide fast, life-or-limb saving care to millions each year.   Unlike other hospital departments that interact with the same patient and families for an extended period, ES staffs typically have one patient encounter, often when anxiety and fear is at its peak.

“Emergency departments can be very stressful environments, particularly for the elderly or a mother with a sick or injured child,” said Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Women’s Choice Award.  “Women make or influence 94% of all healthcare decisions for themselves and others.  They want to be confident that they know which emergency departments in their communities will take care of their loved ones quickly and with the best possible care.  Knowing the Women’s Choice Award has already placed their seal of excellence on a hospital is immediate validation that they have made the right decision, easing their concern during a very stressful time.”

The methodology for America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care award is unique in that it combines Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey results with primary research about women’s healthcare preferences. The award recognizes excellence in emergency care based on several process of care measures focused on time patients spent in the emergency department, including:

  • Total Time Spent in the Emergency Department
  • Percent of Emergency Patients Who Left Without Being Seen

Criteria for selecting Down East Community Hospital as one of America’s Best also included the percentage of patients who came to the emergency department with stroke symptoms who received brain scan results within 45 minutes of arrival.  Also included this year were hospitals that performed well in responding to patients showing symptoms of severe sepsis, a very dangerous condition.  The  awarded hospitals represent those with emergency departments with average measure times in the highest 25th to 50th percentile in the country.  Hospitals received additional credit if they have an accredited trauma center.

The award is especially significant given that long waits and high crowding can negatively impact patient outcomes, including patients leaving without receiving medical treatment, longer overall length of hospital stay and an increase in mortality rates.

“Down East Community Hospital not only performed well clinically with regard to emergency care measures, but they also have a high recommendation rating, which is very important to women when it comes to health-related decisions” says Passi.

DECH has also been named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Outpatient Experience by the Women’s Choice Award. Hospitals aiming to provide the most appropriate and value-based care along with advances in technology such as minimally invasive techniques have shifted many patient cases to outpatient settings.  As a result, hospitals have made significant strides in providing increased customer service to improve the outpatient experience.

“Overnight stays in the hospital can be very stressful and costly. With the advancement of technology, hospitals are now able to offer more procedures on an outpatient basis which is much more convenient, more affordable and less stressful,” said Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Women’s Choice Award. “Women have demanding lifestyles with over 70% of moms employed so making it easy for her to find hospitals that provide the best outpatient experience helps simplify her life.”

The methodology used to select DECH as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Outpatient Experience is exclusive in that it evaluates patient satisfaction measures with a hospital visit based on the criteria in the Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey (OAS-CAHPS).  The evaluation process is the only national list that focuses on the opinion of females. It is the only award recognizing excellence in outpatient satisfaction based on robust criteria that considers the patient experience and clinical excellence.  The categories in the OAS-CAHPS survey are assigned weights based on the feedback received from the Women’s Choice Award Survey.  Only hospitals that achieve rankings higher or equal to the national average in communication and care by hospital staff, pre and post-surgical coordination, facility ratings and patients’ recommendation are eligible for the outpatient experience award.


The Women’s Choice Award for Best Hospitals™ is a trusted referral source and coveted credential that identifies the nation’s best hospitals based on robust criteria that includes relevant clinical performance, patient satisfaction and appropriate accreditations. The Best Hospitals demonstrate exceptional ratings, providing the highest level of care and commitment to their patients’ health and well-being.  The Women’s Choice Award is the only designation that takes into consideration the preferences of women when selecting a hospital. Visit to learn more.