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.

ABOUT THE WOMEN’S CHOICE 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 http://www.womenschoiceaward.com/ to learn more.

Down East Community Hospital and Calais Community Hospital Partner with TeamHealth to for Emergency Medical Services

January 2022 Machias and Calais – DECH and CCH are now partnering with TeamHealth, a leading physician services organization, to provide emergency medicine services. Through this partnership, TeamHealth will become the employer of emergency department clinicians and will collaborate with the clinical teams of both hospitals to maximize operational efficiency. TeamHealth will also assume clinical oversight responsibilities of both emergency departments.

President and CEO, Steve Lail, on the partnership with TeamHealth, “Knowing that TeamHealth will provide us with specialized expertise, while handling the staffing and oversight of our Emergency Departments, allows us to concentrate on operational and strategic plans of both hospitals.  We look forward to working with them to provide excellent care to the people of Washington County”.

Founded in 1979, TeamHealth has a more than 40-year history of delivering high quality care across community-based stand-alone hospitals and regional health systems like ours.  They have strong state-wide and regional presence in both emergency medicine and hospital medicine with a metric-driven, data-based approach to operational and clinical excellence that ensures quality care and an outstanding patient experience. They have a national recruiting and clinician pipeline that ensures the long-term stability of our emergency department teams and the have programs and initiatives to ensure high clinician engagement and retention and reduce clinician burnout and improve clinician wellness and resiliency (the average TeamHealth emergency medicine medical director tenure is more than 12 years). Through its vast network of service offerings and best practices, TeamHealth offers extensive resources and unparalleled support for physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Now Available in Washington County

January 2022 Machias – Down East Community Hospital is very pleased to announce that Rhonda Norton, DPT, has joined our Rehabilitation team.

Rhonda comes to us with over 20 years of experience in Physical Therapy, receiving a Master of Science from Husson College in 2000, and later completed her Doctorate degree, graduating in 2009.  Rhonda has completed advanced training in pelvic physical therapy, earning a Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Health from the American Physical Therapy Association in 2014.  She provides treatment for both males and females of all ages for conditions related to pelvic health including urinary and fecal incontinence, overactive bladder (urinary frequency/urgency), constipation, pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, bedwetting and prenatal and postpartum pain. Treatment may consist of exercise programs, posture education, manual therapy, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, relaxation and breathing techniques.

Rhonda was the Rehabilitation Department Project Manager in Calais as they transitioned to Calais Community Hospital.  She played a pivotal role in restructuring the department, including implementation of an electronic medical record.

Rhonda grew up in Columbia Falls and attended Narraguagus High School.  She recently returned to the area after working at Rumford Hospital in Rumford, Maine.  Rhonda, her husband Leigh, and their two children, are happy to have relocated to Washington county to be close to family and enjoy all of the activities of Downeast Maine.  They enjoy spending time with family, being at camp, and participating in the family’s blueberry harvest.  Her husband, Leigh, grew up in Jonesboro, and is the operations manager for a local wind farm.  We are happy to welcome them back to Washington County!

Rhonda will begin taking appointments for pelvic rehabilitation therapy in February.  You can call Down East Community Rehabilitation at 255-0258 for more information.

Down East Community Hospital Receives $100,000 from the Estate of a Past Volunteer

January 2022 Machias – Down East Community Hospital received $100,000 from the estate of the late Steve Calhoun.  Steve, a long time volunteer at the hospital, lost his battle with cancer on October 29, 2020.  CEO, Steve Lail on the donation, “We are always humbled and appreciative when people in our community give to our hospital and were profoundly stunned when we received the donation.  We knew that Steve loved the hospital, his work here, and the community but for him to leave us such a generous gift was truly astounding.”

Many people here knew Steve and appreciated the countless hours he dedicated to the hospital.  He began volunteering at DECH in 2011 and continued on until 2018 when he became ill.  He donated thousands of hours to the hospital and would do anything to help. He was regularly seen supporting Materials Management breaking down and disposing of shipping materials, working in Dietary helping to keep the vending machines full, Public Relations by helping with events, and in the hospital sitting with patients in need.  He loved voulunteering and considered the people who worked here his friends and family.  Especially his fellow volunteer Tom McClure.  He thought the world of Tom and they worked great as a team.  Steve won several Presidential awards for his volunteer hours and he and Tom were recognized as volunteers of the year by the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

We know that Steve’s family and friends in the community, who see this acknowledgement of his gift, will not be surprised by his extraordinary generosity.  They already know he always wanted to help wherever he could.  Thank you Steve.

DECH Welcomes New Year Baby 2022

January 2022 Machias – DECH welcomes its first baby of 2022!

Kristi Doten and Dan Jones’ daughter, Indira, was born at Down East Community Hospital on January 5 at 8:48am.  Indira weighed in at 5 pounds and 6 ounces and was 19 ½” long.  DECH presented the family with a gift basket full of items for Indira.  The basket also contained several gift certificates for her parents.

Congratulations from the OB staff and everyone at DECH on the birth of your beautiful daughter!

CCH Staff and DECH Leaders Celebrate New Beginnings

July 2021 Calais – July 1, 2021, marks the day that Calais Regional Hospital transitioned out of bankruptcy and became Calais Community Hospital (CCH).  To commemorate the day and celebrate new beginnings, CCH staff members were treated to pizza and ice cream; many sported their “Two Hospitals, One Team, One Focus” t-shirts.

DECH and CCH, President & CEO, Steve Lail, “It feels really good to officially bring Calais Community Hospital and all its staff into the fold and we look forward to many years of service to the community.  We have all worked hard these last two months putting things into place to ensure we maintain some solid footing.  We had to make some difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions along the way. These decisions were not made lightly but were needed to maintain core operations, to become sustainable, and to work towards being a stable organization.  Our plans for the facility remain the same as they were when we began this endeavor.  We want Calais to have a fully functioning hospital and want to bring back full-time general surgery, add primary care providers, and eventually bring additional specialties that will benefit all of Washington County.  The hospital still does not earn enough patient revenue to pay its operating expenses, so the work to get the hospital on solid ground will continue.  We all need to work together to stabilize this hospital and make our new mini healthcare system financially strong.  It will take time to get us to that point but once we stabilize, we hope to rebuild bigger and better than before.”

Down East Community Hospital, through an affiliated entity and with the cooperation of many of the creditors of Calais Regional Hospital, acquired substantially all the assets of CRH.  The petition to acquire the hospital was filed with the bankruptcy court on February 19, 2021; it was approved by bankruptcy judge presiding over the chapter 11 bankruptcy case of CRH on March 24, 2021.

DECH’s Accomplishments Reported at 2021 Annual Meeting

June 2021 Machias – On June 23, Down East Community Hospital held its 2021 Annual Meeting of Corporators to report on the accomplishments of 2020.

DECH, CEO, Steve Lail, “We are pleased to announce that DECH had another strong financial year in 2020 and are proud to continue to maintain and support a variety of services to our community, especially during the pandemic.  Even without the support of the stimulus funds, the hospital was able to maintain its profitability.  We were able to update equipment and the facility.  We purchased a new CT Scanner and Digital Imaging equipment and expanded the Pharmacy and the Infusion Clinic.  We also began construction on the Family Practice Clinic in East Machias.  We remained financially strong throughout the year because our community continued to support our hospital throughout the pandemic by using our services and by giving a hand wherever they could.  We are grateful for them and our dedicated staff.”

Three new Trustees have joined the DECH Board: Ian Pratt of Calais, Gwen Jones of Pembroke, and Judd Bragg of Machias.  Four new Corporators were also added: Aleisha Milburn of Eastport, Todd Smith of Perry, Robert Lacy of Jonesboro, Alfred May of Trescott, and Benjamin Edwards of Machias. Down East Community Hospital is pleased to welcome them to the organization and look forward to their participation in future meetings and activities.

Dr. Eric Burke and Wayne Peters completed their years of service, and we want to take this opportunity to publicly thank them for the countless hours dedicated to our hospital. Dr. Burke served 12 years during which he served as Quality Improvement Patient Safety Chair, Vice Chair and Chairman.  Wayne Peters served 9 years during which he served as Governance Chair, Board Secretary, Vice Chair and most recently Chairman.  They will be greatly missed.

We would also like to thank all who currently sit on the DECH Board of Trustees: Kathy Land, Chair; Lisa Carlisle, Vice Chair; Michael Hennessey, Treasurer; Nate Martell, Secretary; Jack Corrigan; Jackie O’Clair; Betty (BJ) Marshall; Rose St. Louis; Corey Schwinn; Karen Eldridge; Dr. Rita Ten; Dr. Christian Inegbenijie; Gwen Jones; Ian Pratt; Judd Bragg. The time they dedicate to this hospital is invaluable and deeply appreciated.

An electronic copy of the 2020 Annual Report is on the DECH website at www.dech.org/About Us/Annual Report.

Bankruptcy Court Approves DECHs Plan for CRH

March 2021 Machias – Today, the bankruptcy court approved Down East Community Hospital’s (DECHs) petition to purchase Calais Regional Hospital.  DECH, through an affiliated entity, and with the cooperation of many of the creditors of Calais Regional Hospital (CRH), filed papers to acquire Calais Regional Hospital with the bankruptcy court on February 19, 2021.

DECH, President & CEO, Steve Lail, “We are pleased with the court’s decision and are eager to get started.  The court appointed Plan Officer, Mark Stickney, has assigned a Management Service Agreement with Calais Community Hospital, which allows us to provide management services to CRH until the closing of the sale which is scheduled to take place in June.  Our Senior Leaders began those services today.  We look forward to this new journey and to building new relationships with the staff at CRH and the Calais community.”

Down East Community Hospital Receives the 2021 Women’s Choice Award® as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care

March 2021 Machias Down East Community Hospital (DECH) has been named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care by the Women’s Choice Award®, America’s trusted referral source for the best in healthcare.  The award signifies that DECH is in the top 5% of 4,542 U.S. hospitals offering emergency care services.

DECH CEO, Steve Lail, on receiving the award, “We are proud to receive this award and proud of all the staff who provided the special care that earned this recognition for our Emergency Department and our hospital.  We do not take this recognition for granted; we will continue to strive to provide top quality care because that is what we should do, that is what our patients deserve.”

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
  • Time from Admission to a Room
  • 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.  “We have found that recommendations are an important consideration used by women in selecting a hospital for themselves and their family. By helping women know which hospitals in their area provide the best critical care, we are able to help them make better decisions, especially when it comes to emergency situations,” says Delia Passi, CEO and Founder of the Women’s Choice Award. “Women make over 80% of healthcare decisions and have demanding lifestyles and we help simplify her life by making it easy for her to find the best care in those stressful emergency situations.”

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.  For more information about the America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care, please visit https://womenschoiceaward.com/best-emergency-care

ABOUT THE WOMEN’S CHOICE 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 http://www.womenschoiceaward.com/ to learn more.

The information contained in this release is not permitted to be used in a non-press related context without the express prior written consent of the Women’s Choice Award.

DECH Seeks to Acquire Calais Regional Hospital

February 2021 Machias – Down East Community Hospital (“DECH”), through an affiliated entity, with the cooperation of many of the creditors of Calais Regional Hospital (“CRH”), announces its intention to acquire substantially all the assets of CRH.  Paperwork was filed with the bankruptcy court today outlining the specifics of the potential purchase and it now awaits approval from the bankruptcy judge presiding over the chapter 11 bankruptcy case of CRH.

CRH entered chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019 and, since that time, has continued to provide medical services to the people of Washington County. DECH has been interested in purchasing the hospital out of chapter 11 for many months.

DECH, President & CEO, Steve Lail, “Our plans are for the facility to remain a fully functioning hospital and we hope to bring back full-time general surgery, add primary care providers, and eventually bring additional specialties that will benefit all of Washington County.”

CEO, Steve Lail, “We took on 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 Sunrise County are to be met.  As previously stated, we want to maintain a fully functioning hospital in Calais.  Our leadership team, that has facilitated years of positive growth at DECH, will oversee both hospitals.  They will establish financial integrity by improving profits while reducing overall expenses, and they will lessen the administrative burden.  Calais wants a hospital for the long-term and so do we. We will bring all the skills and tools we have used to strengthen DECH and use them to rebuild and strengthen sustainable health care services for the people of Calais and neighboring towns.  We will be two hospitals, with one team, and one focus.”

Our mission is to improve the health of the people in the Sunrise County by being as passionate, determined, and resilient as those we serve by balancing exceptional service, financial integrity, current technology, staff satisfaction and collaborative community involvement. Our pledge to you is that we will live our mission.