Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette
Changes are afoot
Tremendous changes are afoot in healthcare, and they affect us not only nationally but here in our local communities. There has been much discussion in local newspapers and among all of us regarding how we are beginning to respond to these changes. However one thing will not change, the medical staff at Pen Bay Medical Center is committed to providing outstanding care to members of our Midcoast community and beyond. We are working every day to ensure that Pen Bay provides excellent office based primary care services as well as access to sub-specialty services that many patients need.
We face serious challenges nationally and locally to maintain our ability to provide high quality healthcare while controlling the cost of that healthcare to our patients as well as to our hospital. As physicians, our primary responsibility is to provide the best care we can for our patients. We cannot fulfill this responsibility without acknowledging the importance of good financial stewardship to ensure that our hospital not only survives, but thrives and grows.
To achieve these goals, we also depend upon committed, capable, creative and compassionate leadership on the part of our hospital administration and board of trustees. The physicians on the Pen Bay Medical Staff Executive Committee have been assured by Pen Bay Administration and Pen Bay Board of Trustees that changes in the delivery of care will be considered with substantial input from the medical staff executive committee, medical staff departments, and members of the medical staff.
Pen Bay is engaged in careful short- and long-term planning regarding, among other things, how we staff clinical services and what clinical services we provide. This may mean adding some services that have not previously been available locally, or eliminating duplication of services that add to their cost. The medical staff fully intends to participate in a meaningful manner in this process. We know that any changes like these ultimately affect our patients on a very personal level. Therefore we know that effective communication within our organization and between Pen Bay and the larger Midcoast community is essential in charting a successful path for the health of our community and for us all.
Pen Bay Medical Center has been accredited by the Joint Commission for almost four decades. We are only one of four Maine hospitals to be certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. Pen Bay is a teaching site for the Tufts Medical School/Maine Medical Center third-year medical students. The Medical Center has received consecutive “A” safety scores after completing the comprehensive Leapfrog Hospital Survey in 2012 and 2013. Our Emergency Medicine staff cares for almost 23,000 patients per year. We deliver 325 newborns per year and our surgeons conduct over 2,775 surgeries per year. Three thousand seven hundred individuals are discharged from Pen Bay per year and over 105,000 patient visits were conducted by outpatient providers.
We are not simply a group of over 120 employees or independent practitioners. We are members of the community. We, too, rely on medical care at Pen Bay for ourselves, our friends, our family and our colleagues. We all share in the responsibility to provide quality health services, easy access to those services when they are needed and to minimize the costs of those services to our patients and to our providers. It is a responsibility we take seriously. We do not take for granted the privilege of caring for the health and well being of our community members.
Pen Bay Medical Staff Executive Committee
Dr. Robert Stein, President Medical Staff
Dr. Stephanie Lash, President Elect
Dr. Richard Evans, Chair, Anesthesiology
Dr. Chris Michalakes, Chair, Emergency Medicine
Dr. Jeffrey Landfair, Chair, Family Medicine
Dr. Joseph Litwak, Chair, Hospitalist
Dr. Robert Laurence, Chair, Internal Medicine
Dr. Jennifer McKenna, Chair, Ob/Gyn
Dr. Sonja Tomic, Chair, Pathology
Dr. Dana Goldsmith, Chair, Pediatrics
Dr. Frederick Goggans, Chair, Psychiatry
Dr. Julie White, Chair, Surgery
With the conclusion of the recent primary election, as I have been out picking up my campaign signs across Knox County, I noticed that in a number of traffic islands where my signs had been placed, the grass had been cut in such a way so as not to disturb the signs. In some places, whoever mowed these areas, they actually took the time to take down the sign, mow, and replace the sign. Thank you to those people who were so respectful of not only my own signs, but my opponents as well. Just another reason I am so proud and respectful of Mainers’ work ethic, and to have the great fortune to be running to represent our wonderful county. I look forward to seeing you out there on the campaign this summer and fall.
Thanks to you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the residents who elected me to the Board of Selectmen. I would also like to say a special thank you to John Blamey, Bill Blodgett, Steve Cartwright, Rhonda Ralph Conway,Terry Soule Gifford, Barbara Ann Buerman Johnson, Sandra O'Farrell, Linda Perry, Daphne Stern, and Betsy Wooster.
Thank you all so much. I look forward to working for the residents of Waldoboro.
Clinton E. Collamore Sr.
Thanks to Lonza
Thank you to the employees of Lonza on Thomaston Street for their recent financial gift to St. Peter's Episcopal Church, to support our weekend community lunch program called Loaves & Fishes. We certainly appreciate this gift, which will allow us to buy food, replace equipment in the kitchen, and generally keep the lights on and the doors open.
Lunch is prepared by different volunteers teams each Saturday and Sunday; teams provided by Aldersgate United Methodist, Adas Yoshuron, Rockland Congregational, Youthlinks, Camden Hills Regional High School, Nativity Lutheran, St. Thomas' Episcopal, St. Peter's Episcopal, and First Universalist. There is one more team, but it defies rational explanation.
Lunch is served at 12:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. Sundays, and anybody who feels the need for lunch and company is welcome. Meals are provided at no cost to our guests.
Fifteen years ago a doctor and his wife retired to Mid-Coast Maine and asked their friends if there was a local medical clinic where they could volunteer to help the uninsured. When told there wasn’t one, Dr. Paul and Jeannie Klainer promptly set about pulling together friends and colleagues to start one.
On Wednesday June 9, 1999, Dr. Klainer opened the doors for the first time at the Knox County Health Clinic, and provided care to four patients in need. In 1999 he and other volunteers saw 130 patients, enrolled four patients in to a Prescription Assistance Program, and applied for funding to open a dental clinic to the uninsured.
Fast forward 15 years, the clinic has over 100 volunteers providing integrated medical, dental, mental health and wellness, and prescription assistance services to approximately 2,000 local low income residents without insurance. For many who come to us, it could be the first physical or dental cleaning they’ve had in 20 years.
In the past year the clinic provided about 700 dental visits, 750 mental health and wellness visits, 800 medical visits, and $1.8 million worth of free medication to the community. Cumulatively, the prescription assistance program has saved patients over $10 million in medication costs since it started!
Our patients are hard working Mainers that paint houses, bag groceries, stock shelves, take care of others and hold our communities together. They deserve access to quality care. The clinic is able to exist to provide that care because of the incredible vision and dedication of the Klainers, the ongoing hard work from our many wonderful volunteers, and the tremendous financial support from our local community.
It is with humble gratitude that I write this letter to say thank you to the many touched by our story who have helped us grow along the way. Happy 15th Birthday Knox County Health Clinic!
To make a tax-deductible donation, to volunteer, or to request services please call 594-6996, or visit our website at knoxclinic.org.
You have a clean house
And nothing to do,
So you take your dog out
And let him poo;
Not in and around you neat, tidy place,
But on public and private,
Other people's space.
Our pets are so special, so loyal and true,
I'm sure if they could,
They'd pick up their own poo.
People in office said they'd do good
For our city,
But they won't even help in keeping it pretty.
You're not what you seem, we put trust in you,
And it's pretty sad when you don't pick
up your dog's poo.
You are a disgrace and you should be ashamed,
You've not kept your promise,
and only you are to blame.
We want this enforced,
It's a law being broken
Stand up for what's right
Don't throw us a token.
You say that this issue is not priority,
But the health and well-being of our people should be.
It may not be murder, speeding and such,
But filth and disease hurts us as much.
We love our city and its people too.
We help and support all that they do,
The ball games, the soccer, the sports that
Should not be done on poo and decay.
No child should slide on poo-laden snow,
this is disgusting, come on, you must know!
The beaches, the cook outs
should be kept neat.
How would you like getting poo on your feet?
Shelter expansion needed
I write this request to the residents of Knox County and especially to those who are owners of cats, dogs and other various types of pets and this does not include what we call farm or ranch life, such as horses, cows, pigs, sheep, etc. What I am asking is a very tough question — The Pope Memorial animal shelter located in Thomaston on Buttermilk Lane is in need of help to meet the funding needed to build a brand new facility that will handle, on a daily basis, all the animals that come in, from cats and dogs and everything else that comes in, and yes, I will include pigs, goats, sheep and even birds.
For the record, I am an animal control officer for the towns of Thomaston and South Thomaston and I have dealt with all types of animal life from skunks to owls and, yes, dogs, cats, and I have even dealt with bats.
But now back to the request at hand; the shelter does have a fund that at present is at half of the funding needed, but I will not say how much is present or how much more is needed. I will say this, the shelter does need help in this area and this does not mean stopping all the donations and help that is needed on a daily basis. I will not say that if you help in one area that is all you need to do, but for the record, whatever you do in any area, you will be thanked in ways that you may not believe and that thanks may come from an animal that you may or may not see that is at the shelter. I can and will say for the record that all the staff and volunteers who work at the shelter on a daily basis and even on holidays deserve a word of thanks for all they do even when we do not notice it. I can and will say that they do work that at times seem to have no good outcome, but in the end the outcome is good it just takes time and those at the shelter make it happen.
The bottom line to this is simply this — the shelter needs to expand and that means building a brand new much-larger building and the plans are all ready there, it just needs the funds necessary to meet this need and anyone who steps up to the plate to help in this area will be thanked in a way that may surprise you.
Robert J. Robinson
Animal Control Officer
Thomaston, South Thomaston