No word on selectmen, BH president meeting; physician on why ‘no confidence vote’ cast

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Fred Packard was eager to find out Tuesday night if a meeting had been scheduled between Bridgton selectmen and Bridgton Hospital president and CEO David Frum.

The answer: no.

Selectman Packard noted it is a “concern.”

The concern comes on the heels of a front page daily newspaper story that Bridgton Hospital medical staff voted unanimously (20–0, which reportedly included doctors, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants) that they have no confidence in Central Maine Healthcare president and CEO Jeff Brickman.

BH staff reportedly is concerned about cuts in services, financial woes and the possibility that the obstetrics unit might close.

BH president and chief executive officer David Frum penned an op-ed column (see sidebar) to answer some of the questions raised by recent News’ letter writers.

The News did reach out to a Lake Region Community Health Board member, but was told at this time correspondences regarding the no confidence vote and other hospital matters were being issued by Central Maine’s public relations and community affairs department.

Board members include: Matthew Frank, Phil Libby, Susan Cole, Holly Dvorak, Vincent Osgood, Jessica Priola, Phyllis Ginzler, Dr. Wenda Saunders, Dr. David Tupponce (CMH) and David Frum.

When a daily newspaper attempted to seek comment from Brickman regarding the no confidence vote and financial issues facing Central Maine Healthcare, a statement was released by Kate Carlisle, director of public relations and community affairs. The statement read, “The leadership team joined Central Maine Healthcare at a time of substantial financial shortfalls and shifts in the healthcare landscape, particularly in Maine. Changes, some of them significant, have been necessary to face these issues, and we understand that even necessary change is difficult.”

Carlisle added that the CMH system remains “very committed” to Bridgton Hospital.

A physician, who requested anonymity, said three issues are driving the no confidence vote, as well as convincing some staff to look elsewhere for employment. The issues include:

  • The production model being used for compensation. On the one hand, volume is the key driver for pay, yet physicians are asked to use a “cumbersome” and “terribly slow” electronic record-keeping system, which prevents them from meeting expected patient numbers.
  • The physician said a “lack of respect” exists between medical staff and administration. “When it comes to input regarding what goes on in the hospital, ideas are dismissed out of hand, and not given any weight or consideration,” the physician said.
  • Finally, the physician says there is a “lack of a shared vision — common purpose” between Lewiston and Bridgton.

A year ago, BH announced reorganization moves (the word used was “right-sizing”) that included showing the door to three long-time doctors. Since those changes in late June 2017, several physicians and other staff have also left Bridgton Hospital (see list), leaving residents such as Ursula Flaherty, who voiced to Bridgton selectmen her concerns about future access to health care.

Meanwhile, selectmen still hope that a meeting will occur with BH president Frum to get a clearer picture where the town’s largest employer is heading.

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