Central Maine Health responds to Pondicherry Group’s report

The News contacted Central Maine Healthcare in response to points made during The Pondicherry Group’s presentation to the Bridgton Lakes Region Rotary Club:

BN. Has The Pondicherry Group reached out to Central Maine Healthcare regarding the possible sale of Bridgton Hospital assets, and has there been any conversation regarding the group’s inquiry?

CMH. The Pondicherry Group has not contacted Central Maine Healthcare regarding a sale of Bridgton Hospital assets.

BN. Has MaineHealth’s CEO reached out to Central Maine Healthcare regarding the possible sale of Bridgton Hospital assets, and if so, any comment regarding those conversations or if other meetings/conversations are planned?

CMH. Central Maine Healthcare has not received a formal proposal by MaineHealth regarding a sale of Bridgton assets. Bridgton Hospital is not for sale.

BN. Points mentioned in the presentation, which could either be verified by CMH or comment on:

Number of births declined 68% from 2017; 38 total in 2018.

CMH: There has been a decrease in births in the region, as well as nationally. But, Central Maine Healthcare is not walking away from obstetrics; in fact, the program has been rebuilt, adding augmented midwifery and a new full-time obstetrician. Our OB suites are currently being updated and we offer regular classes in maternal health and mom-and-baby care. 

• BH consistently furloughs staff due to low volumes?

CMH: Like all hospitals in Maine and throughout the country, Bridgton Hospital adjusts staffing based on patient census and acuity. This is neither an unusual nor alarming practice. It is the fiscally responsible response to meet the daily needs of our patients and in no way compromises patient safety or quality of care. At CMH, we offer “float pool” opportunities between CMMC, Bridgton and Rumford Hospitals to support schedule management.

• CMH leadership has been unwilling to present a strategy or plan of action to address shortage of providers and anemic services.

CMH: On the contrary, we are actively working to address the shortage of primary care providers in the Lake Region through a very aggressive provider recruitment strategy, and are providing temporary provider coverage to bridge the gap. We are opening a primary care Walk-In Clinic at our North Bridgton Family Practice location to further improve access to primary care services. We are also reinvigorating specialty care and surgical services in the region to meet community needs.

BH had a negative operating margin in fiscal year 2017.

CMH. Actually, in Fiscal Year 2017, Bridgton Hospital had a positive operating margin of 2.1 percent. It is true that there are tremendous financial challenges facing rural healthcare in Maine and across the country; only last week, Penobscot Valley Hospital filed for bankruptcy. Our new president for Bridgton and Rumford Hospitals, Peter Wright, is looking forward to meeting those challenges when he starts here next month, and we look forward to introducing him to the Bridgton community during the board of selectmen’s meeting on Feb. 12.

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