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Sharing Services to Improve Healthcare

Hospitals across the country are striving to reduce costs while maintaining high-quality care to meet the demands of their communities. For Penobscot Valley Hospital (PVH) and Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH), two critical access hospitals 35-miles apart, that means enhancing service offerings while achieving economies of scale through shared services.

“Over the years, we have shared many specialists with area facilities including orthopedics, otolaryngologists and urologists. Today, PVH and MRH share many key positions including a health information management director, registered dietitian, social worker and an orthopedic surgeon,” states Gary Poquette, FACHE, CEO at Penobscot Valley Hospital.

“Because of our small, rural status, these positions can be more efficient when shared. It may not be feasible for one hospital to employ all of the full-time specialists, but when we share these employees, we improve access to high-quality care in both of our communities,” adds Bob Peterson, CEO at Millinocket Regional Hospital.

Patients benefit from these shared services as it means less time traveling to and from healthcare appointments. Since so many people live in one community and travel for work in the other, it is nice to have options to provide care to them, from the same provider, in whichever location they prefer.

Another benefit from these joint agreements is the ability to offer more services to the community than each hospital could offer individually. Orthopedics are one example of a service that was added in the Lincoln community in 2016 and the service will be enhanced with additional days in the PVH Specialty Clinic and Operating Room in May 2017 as Millinocket Regional Hospital has recently hired a second orthopedic surgeon to meet the increased demand in the two communities.

In thinking globally as partners and not competitors, PVH and MRH are setting a great example of two hospitals working together to meet the healthcare needs of their communities.  

 

Partnering for a Sustainable Future in Healthcare

Penobscot Valley Hospital (PVH) and Health Access Network (HAN) are pleased to announce collaboration efforts through a $30,000 Maine Health Access Fund (MeHAF) planning grant. The focus of the grant work is to alleviate and avert the threatened loss of local services and access to care due to a significant downturn in the local economy. The group aims to strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole.

Members of the planning network include: Penobscot Valley Hospital, Health Access Network, Veterans’ Affairs-Lincoln Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, Lincoln Economic Development Committee and the Save-a-Life Substance Abuse Committee.

The steering committee includes the organizations' CEOs, 2 board members, 4 senior leadership members, VA representatives and members from the participating committees. The goal of the project is to strategically research, review and develop evidence-based models of rural clinical, operational, and/or organizational integration to advance and strengthen the rural healthcare system in northern Maine.

MeHAF grant outcomes include:
1. Analyze different levels of integration
2. Develop viable models for an integrated rural delivery system
3. Improve coordination of care, including with our area veterans
4. Create transition plans to continue to address the community’s healthcare needs

“This grant work comes at a key time for Penobscot Valley Hospital,” states Penobscot Valley Hospital CEO Gary R. Poquette, FACHE. “To combat years of financial losses, our board, leadership and staff have been working for the last two years to redesign healthcare delivery in our community. While change can be difficult, it is necessary in these current economic times. Often times, it can bring about positive change as we have recently seen the addition of new services to meet the needs of our community in orthopedics, pediatric dentistry and gynecology.”

Three key strategies Penobscot Valley Hospital leadership have focused efforts on throughout 2016 include:
1. Revenue enhancement and expense reduction – PVH is working to analyze all services to ensure revenue exceeds cost. As demand changes, shifting from inpatient services to outpatient care, PVH is making those necessary adjustments to remain financially viable.
2. Explore viable models of Critical Access Hospital (PVH) and Federally Qualified Health Center (HAN) integration – site visits to three locations in Maine and Vermont have been made to gather integrative approaches including financial, legal and consultative advice.
3. Evaluate the feasibility of affiliation – the Board of Directors has been working to establish framework and guidelines if Penobscot Valley Hospital were to affiliate with a larger tertiary care hospital. Starting this month, representatives serving as ambassadors from PVH and HAN Boards, PVH and HAN medical staff and leadership will be visiting the three tertiary systems in Maine: MaineHealth in Portland, Central Maine Healthcare in Lewiston, and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems in Brewer. They plan to discuss how past partnerships have looked between tertiaries and Critical Access Hospitals, and what opportunities and improvements might arise for the Lincoln Lakes Region if PVH were to seek a healthcare partner down the road. 

“Health Access Network, Penobscot Valley Hospital and the VA share many of the same patients,” states Health Access Network CEO Bill Diggins, RN. “In February, I visited the Lincoln Town Council to discuss the financial struggles in healthcare. Add to that Lincoln’s struggling economic climate and changes at the state and federal levels for reimbursement, and it culminates with a need to assess opportunities for HAN and PVH to remain financially viable. Our mission states that we aim to make a real difference in the health of our community, and we cannot do that without combined efforts from our hospital, VA, and community members.”

While it will be a considerable task, Penobscot Valley Hospital, Health Access Network, Veterans’ Affairs, Lincoln Economic Development Committee and Save-a-Life committee members look forward to collaborating with the community throughout this grant process to redesign the delivery of healthcare to meet the needs of the Lincoln Lakes Region for years to come. 

Healthy Me – a free weight loss program

Penobscot Valley Hospital invites you to join us for our free weight loss program redesigned for 2017 called Healthy Me. This program is created by PVH physical therapists and registered dietitian to help you make lifestyle changes to reach your weight loss goals.

Healthy Me provides all the essentials to embrace healthy lifestyles including free use of the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center gym on Thursday evenings during class. The program provides education on heart rate monitoring, safe exercise options, meal planning and making healthy food choices.
· Reach your goals for weight loss in a supportive environment with guidance from licensed professionals
· Receive personalized support to incorporate aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching programs into your daily routines
· Learn about personal energy needs & healthy food options

Participants in last year’s classes lost an average of 1lb per week over a 5-week session!

Healthy Me is open to those living within the Penobscot Valley Hospital service area who have a goal of weight loss. Classes will be held the second Thursday of each month at the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center, 37 Main Street, Lincoln starting February 9 from 5:30-7:00pm. Participants should plan on attending each month. Call 794-7228 or visit www.pvhme.org/gym today for more information on Healthy Me. 

Participants in the Penobscot Valley Hospital Healthy Me program will learn more about healthy lifestyles at this free weight loss program. Healthy Me is open to anyone interested in improving his/her health and begins on February 9 at the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center on Main Street in Lincoln.

 

Healthy Me – a free weight loss program

Penobscot Valley Hospital invites you to join us for our free weight loss program redesigned for 2017 called Healthy Me. This program is created by PVH physical therapists and registered dietitian to help you make lifestyle changes to reach your weight loss goals.

Healthy Me provides all the essentials to embrace healthy lifestyles including free use of the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center gym on Thursday evenings during class. The program provides education on heart rate monitoring, safe exercise options, meal planning and making healthy food choices.
· Reach your goals for weight loss in a supportive environment with guidance from licensed professionals
· Receive personalized support to incorporate aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching programs into your daily routines
· Learn about personal energy needs & healthy food options

Participants in last year’s classes lost an average of 1lb per week over a 5-week session!

Healthy Me is open to those living within the Penobscot Valley Hospital service area who have a goal of weight loss. Classes will be held the second Thursday of each month at the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center, 37 Main Street, Lincoln starting February 9 from 5:30-7:00pm. Participants should plan on attending each month. Call 794-7228 or visit www.pvhme.org/gym today for more information on Healthy Me. 

Participants in the Penobscot Valley Hospital Healthy Me program will learn more about healthy lifestyles at this free weight loss program. Healthy Me is open to anyone interested in improving his/her health and begins on February 9 at the PVH Rehab & Wellness Center on Main Street in Lincoln.

 

4H Club impresses registered dietitian with knowledge in nutrition

On Thursday, January 5, PVH registered dietitian Mark Robinson visited the Burlington 4H Club at the Ammadamast Grange Hall in Enfield. A dozen curious students reviewed healthy food choices using the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate model as a guide. They assembled fruit kabobs as a healthy snack option and performed an experiment demonstrating the effect of sodium on fluid balance using potatoes. Robinson was impressed with the students’ current knowledge in nutrition. For healthy recipes, menus and other nutritional resources, visit www.choosemyplate.gov

Advanced gynecology services now available in Lincoln

Michael T. Drouin, MD is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (FACOG) and brings nearly forty years of experience as a gynecologic surgeon to the medical staff at Penobscot Valley Hospital. Dr. Drouin is a highly regarded gynecologist who will be performing women’s health procedures in the PVH Specialty Clinic and PVH Operating Room. Dr. Drouin offers a long list of in-office procedures as well as surgical procedures.

Dr. Drouin earned his undergraduate degree from Providence College in Rhode Island and medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri. His gynecology and obstetrics residency was performed at Women & Infants Hospital/Rhode Island General Hospital with Brown University. Dr. Drouin has an extensive list of research and publications, and a long commitment to post graduate education to advance his medical knowledge in reproductive endocrinology, infertility and oncology.

“Being raised in Maine, I have a strong commitment to improving women’s health in the state that I love. Women in the Lincoln area have been needing local, advanced gynecological care for some time and I aim to care for all their reproductive, menopausal and urological care needs with utmost compassion.”

While he will not be providing obstetric care or performing deliveries, Dr. Drouin will provide reproductive and infertility treatments to assist women who may be trying to get pregnant. He also cares for those needing family planning and birth control options including sterilization, as well as sexual dysfunction and menopause issues. He has experience treating many unordinary cases and truly enjoys caring for women’s unique, specialized needs.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Michael Drouin to the Lincoln Lakes Region. Referrals for his services can be made through your primary care physician. Additional information is available at http://www.pvhme.org/Providers/Michael-T-Drouin,-MD,-FACOG.aspx  

Hospitalist Dr. Babar Junaidi, ER Medical Director Dr. David Ettinger, Certified Physician Assistant Revaz Boukia, Gynecologic Surgeon Dr. Michael Drouin, and General Surgeon Dr. David Rideout are some of the medical staff providing exceptional care at Penobscot Valley Hospital. They are pictured welcoming Dr. Drouin to Penobscot Valley Hospital where he will be performing advanced gynecologic care to meet the area’s needs for high-quality women’s health services.

More local workforce hires and promotions at PVH

Penobscot Valley Hospital is pleased to welcome new managers Jana Libbey, Jen Cowing, and Shelley Sides.

Jana Libbey
Senior Director of Human Resources

Jana has previously worked in the PVH Human Resources department on a part-time and per diem basis. Most recently she worked at Husson University as their Assistant Director of Admissions and has just one semester left in completing her Masters in Business Administration degree.

“I am pleased to join the Penobscot Valley Hospital Leadership Team, I look forward to providing employment and benefit services to all employees within our hospital so that they can focus on providing quality healthcare to others within the community," adds Jana. “It is one of my many goals moving forward to focus on building an environment where high performance is valued, rewarded and recognized throughout the hospital.”

Jana resides in Lincoln with her husband, Luke, and four children. Having grown up in this area, she understands the growing healthcare and economic needs of the community.

Jen Cowing, MS PT
Director of Rehab Services

Jen graduated with a Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy in 2001. She has a diverse patient care background including several years specializing within an Orthopedic Surgical Practice in southern Maine as well as extensive work in pediatrics within early intervention and school-based programs. Jen joined the PVH team in 2014 as a therapist and stepped up to the role of director in October.

She is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, and is an Orthopedic, Cardiopulmonary, and Acute Care section member. Her special interests include post-operative orthopedic rehab, treatment of vertigo, and working with patients with chronic conditions such as cardiopulmonary disease, CHF, diabetes, or pain to better manage their health and reach their goals. Recent coursework includes attendance at a seminar for manual therapy treatment of lumbar, sacral, and pelvic dysfunctions. Jen volunteers for PVH helping to run a program several times a year called Healthy ME, which provides access to experts free of charge to community members working to lose weight or maintain weight loss.

"The PVH Rehabilitation Department is truly a fantastic resource for our community and I am proud to be a part of it,” states Jen Cowing. “Our team of Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists not only has a wealth of experience in their respective fields, but also represents the most advanced degrees and specialty certifications available within our professions. Our therapists work with patients within the hospital setting to regain function, allowing them to return to home safely after illness or surgery, and also staff a thriving state-of-the-art outpatient facility right in the heart of downtown Lincoln.”

Jen adds, “I am excited to see our outpatient department continue to grow while still offering all the services that set us apart from other clinics - including our commitment to early morning and evening hours to accommodate patient work schedules and the free use of our rehab gym to our patients between appointments, which affords many the opportunity to carryover their programs achieving better outcomes with fewer visits and lower out-of-pocket copays. One area we plan to expand is wellness programming for the entire PVH service area, with new membership options to our rehab gym and even more no-cost specialty programs to help our community increase their physical activity and improve their health."

Jen lives in Lowell with her husband and three children.

Shelley Sides, RN, BSN, MSN
Director of Inpatient Services

Shelley started in December as the new director of inpatient services, coming to PVH from Eastern Maine Medical Center where she was a nurse manager in the Adult and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. She began her career at PVH in 1994 as an EMT and gained interest in becoming more involved with patient care. Working through nursing school, Shelley graduated with her BSN degree in 2000. She continued work at PVH as a new grad in the emergency department while also working at EMMC in pediatrics. Shelley obtained her MSN in 2005 and continued to grow in the profession of nursing as a leader in emergency medicine. Shelley is experienced in emergency medicine, critical care medicine, pediatric medicine and nursing education.

“I am very excited to be returning to Penobscot Valley Hospital,” states Shelley. “PVH gave me a window into nursing that spearheaded my professional career. I am very thankful for the opportunities that have been opened to me as a result of my beginning at this organization. Healthcare has changed immensely over the last few decades but at the heart of it all, are the patients and the community. My goal is to support my team to provide high-quality care, promote wellness in my home community and help to lead a team with a vision for greatness.”

Shelley lives in Howland with her husband, youngest son and dog, and feels blessed to be working back "home" where she raised three children and has many connections.
 

Jen Cowing, Jana Libbey and Shelley Sides look forward to making a difference in the health of our community in their new roles at Penobscot Valley Hospital.  

Hospital filling a void for 43 years

It was over 50 years ago when Medicare became a law in 1966. Among numerous other changes, the law required hospitals to pass rigorous inspections in order to receive payment for the care of patients. At the time, neither the Lincoln Hospital nor the Workman Hospital passed certification to receive Medicare patients. Concerned citizens in our community held a meeting on July 26, 1966 at the Rosebowl Restaurant with representatives from the Maine Department of Health and Welfare to discuss the future of healthcare in the Lincoln Lakes Region.

By the end of the meeting, ten members were chosen to further review options of renovating the current medical facilities to bring them up to code, or constructing a brand new facility using Hill-Burton funds. Those original members of the Study Committee included: Chairman G. Daniel Aiken, Robert Barton, Wilbur Clay, Taylor Bradstreet, Eugene Libby, Kathleen McCormick, Perry Barker, Dr. A. J. Gulesian, Argie Edgecomb, and Percy Porter.

Over time, the Study Committee grew to 25 members who were devoted to the cause, spending countless hours collecting 2,858 signatures for a petition that was sent to Senator Margaret Chase Smith. She presented the petition to President Lyndon B. Johnson calling his attention to the struggle of Medicare patients in the Lincoln area.

In April 1967, legislation creating Hospital Administrative District #1 was signed into law by Maine Governor Kenneth Curtis and on September 10, 1967, voters of the 15 towns in the district gave overwhelming approval of Hospital Administrative District (HAD) #1. Over the next few years, the HAD #1 Board Members worked to raise $500,000, which would be matched by federal Hill-Burton funds for a total of $1 million to construct a new facility.

1973 Board Members (l to r): Dr. Carl Troutt, Jean Twist, Harold Noyes, Philip Reed, Skip Haskell, Fred Dingley, Raymond Dugan, Dr. Bourcard Nesin, Keith Ham, Linda Stone, Grace Bowers, Kay McCormick, Mabel Dill, Ruth Lewis, Walter Clapp, Theo Jipson, Rhoda Dolley, Administrator Leo Jonason, Donald Whitney, Dean Neal, Norman Blanchard, Ralph Hooke, Daniel Aiken, Roger Tourtillotte, Sam Shorey. Absent from photo were: Myron Doane, Rev. Lewis Chase, Hervey Jordan, Joey Crooker, Erroll Woodward, and Porter Bodine.

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