Skip to content

About Down East Community Hospital

Located in the heart of beautiful Downeast Maine

Down East Community Hospital is a 25 bed acute care facility that offers state-of-the art technology and specialty services almost unheard of in a small rural hospital.

Our hospital serves the needs of our immediate community in Machias and all of Washington County, bordered by New Brunswick to the northeast and the Bay of Fundy.

The foundation for Down East Community Hospital was laid in 1957 when a group of dedicated citizens studied the feasibility of establishing a new medical facility in the rural Washington County Maine. Down East Community Hospital was incorporated on January 5, 1960 and after the hospital was constructed, the one-story hospital with thirty six beds and ten bassinets welcomed its first patient on December 2, 1964.

In 1975 the hospital added to its physical plant, the first of four expansions, allowing for additional space for imaging, laboratory, and patient examining rooms. Other additions and renovations included a new emergency area in 1989, a special care unit in 1996, a new operating suite in 1999, and a redesigned registration, waiting area, café and gift shop were part of a 10,000 square-foot connector which attached DECH to the separately owned thirty bed resident care facility, Maine Veteran’s Home.

In early 2016, after securing a loan with the USDA, DECH launched a Capital Campaign to expand the Emergency Department to have a larger, more modern, more patient-friendly Emergency Department to help assist our physicians and nurses in providing high-quality care. The expansion tripled the old space to 7,350 square feet and offered improved access to emergency services with a newly designed entrance. The six bed semi-private facility was expanded to nine private rooms including triage, trauma, and psychiatric rooms.

Features of the new Emergency Department included:

  • 9 private rooms with state of the art patient monitoring equipment, including 2 rooms specifically designed for patients with behavioral health needs
  • Newly designed entrance area providing better access to patients including a more comfortable waiting area for patients and families
  • An enlarged triage area and treatment room to expedite patient care
  • A built-in decontamination room for emergency preparedness
  • Improved staff and nursing stations to better accommodate access to patients
  • The Capital Campaign raised over 1.5 million towards the 4.6 million project.
  • The Emergency Department expansion was completed in November 2017.

In August 2005 DECH officially received its “Critical Access Hospital Designation” with twenty-five beds licensed acute care beds. Over the past ten years, in addition to the offering of exceptional primary care services such as Family Practice, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics/Gynecological services, DECH has specialty care services such as Podiatry, Urology, Otolaryngology (ENT), General Surgery including minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, Orthopedics, and Pain Medicine.

DECH is an integral part of the region providing inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical, and emergency services. We are deeply committed to quality, patient safety, and patient satisfaction.