November 22, 2023

Steve Lail, CEO of Down East Community Hospital and Calais Community Hospital and COO/CFO Lynnette Parr pose for a photo with Nicole Breton, Director, Rural Health, and Primary Care Program, Maine CDC, Maine DHHS after receiving their Rural Health Community Star Awards at the State House in Augusta.

Machias – Down East Community Hospital CEO, Steve Lail, and COO/CFO, Lynnette Parr were presented Rural Health Community Star Awards at the National Rural Health Day celebration held at the State House on November 16, 2023.  They were recognized for their work to preserve health care access in Maine by embarking on the bold local solution of purchasing the Calais hospital when it faced closure to ensure services would be accessible in the eastern most area of the county.

Over a year ago, the leadership of Down East Community Hospital released the following statement:

“Our organization decided to take on and embrace this endeavor because we strongly believe that having a thriving, financially stable hospital in Calais is crucial if the health care needs of all those in Washington County are to be met. We did not make this decision lightly.  There were many months of planning and vetting.  We moved ahead because it became clear we should, not only because we are confident in the abilities of our team, but also because we could not sit idly by and do nothing.”

They made this pledge to the community, “We Will Live Our Mission to improve the health of the people in the Sunrise County by being as passionate, determined and resilient as those we service by balancing exceptional services, financial integrity, current technology, staff satisfaction and collaborative community involvement.”

When asked about the challenges that they have faced and overcome, CFO Lynnette Parr notes, “The creation and turnaround of Calais Community Hospital has been the most challenging and rewarding of my career.  Seeing the impact of our work is inspiring.  We have connected the two hospitals as a whole new family of staff that have embraced our new system and put in the work for us to be successful.  Our shared resources have provided a significant positive impact for both hospitals and has allowed us to create a shared vision for the future.

We have implemented measures to enhance revenues and reduce costs while maintaining needed healthcare services.  Our efforts have brought the hospital back to profitability and we continue to focus on the growth of our combined system to help address the challenges of maintaining services in a remote area.”

CEO, Steve Lail added, “Over the past two years we have made significant improvements to care at Calais Community by expanding services and adding specialty care such as orthopedics and general surgery.  We have seen positive changes in the finances of the hospital and our support among our staff and the Calais community is very strong and continues to grow. We are moving forward with a new family practice clinic in Baileyville, and our long-term goal is to continue to grow the services we provide at Calais Community Hospital and along with Down East Community Hospital in Machias we hope to remain independent and serve the best needs of the people of Washington County.

Steve Lail, on receiving the awards, “We are humbled and honored to receive this recognition and are grateful to the staff at both hospitals who continue to be committed to provide access to quality health care here in Washington County; We can’t do it without them.  We also want to recognize the importance of the community support we receive and thank all those who continue to utilize our services.

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