June 19, 2014

Letters, Camden Herald

Jun 19, 2014

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 subspecialty 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 new borns 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 more than 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, Chairman, Anesthesiology

Dr. Chris Michalakes, Chairman, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Jeffrey Landfair, Chairman, Family Medicine

Dr. Joseph Litwak, Chairman, Hospitalist

Dr. Robert Laurence, Chairman, Internal Medicine

Dr. Jennifer McKenna, Chairman, Ob/Gyn

Dr. Sonja Tomic, Chairman, Pathology

Dr. Dana Goldsmith, Chairman, Pediatrics

Dr. Frederick Goggans, Chairman, Psychiatry

Dr. Julie White, Chairman, Surgery


Clothes collection thanks

At the end of every sale there are always special thank yous I'd like to publicly make and this sale is no different. We had a generous sponsor; Maine Coast Construction, whose involvement was very beneficial and appreciated. We were included in the Pop for Change initiative sponsored by Cellar Door Winery this year which provided us with some great new volunteers. There were some skeptics among us who questioned how well this would work and we all agreed it worked really well! Thank you Maine Coast Construction and Cellar Door Winery!

The 'new 'volunteers fit right in with the 'seasoned' workers - both the 'new' and 'seasoned' workers had positive attitudes and a willingness to do whatever was asked of them. Everyone did a really good job at making sure all aspects of the sale went well. Loyal Biscuit and Down East Magazine sent groups of volunteers who were awesome! Kudos to all our volunteers!!!

Our fall sale - Oct. 25 to 27 will be our 80th sale. We are already planning some surprises, some unique celebrations and as always some really good deals on good quality, gently used clothes! Please remember you can donate your clothes all year by dropping them off at the Thomas Corcoran Center/Coastal Opportunities on Limerock Street in Camden.

Our goal is to raise as much money as we can for Coastal Opportunities and we were thrilled to able to give them $5,400 as a result of this sale. Thank you all for your continued support and generosity.


Nancy Wolfertz

Cash For Clothes


Food drive success

Thank you to the postal carriers who conducted this year’s post office food drive benefiting the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry. It was a rainy day and doubtfully much fun carrying bags of groceries all day long. Thank you also to all who donated food. The pantry received more than 1,600 pounds of food because of your generosity!

Another thank you goes to the extra volunteers who came in to sort and shelve the food. This food drive is another example of how our community supports those in need. The pantry serves more than 1,000 people who live in Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Hope, Appleton, Union, Searsmont and Washington. Those needing assistance can visit the pantry on Tuesdays from 8 to 11 a.m. or Thursdays 4 to 6 p.m. For more information please call 236-9790 or visit camdenfoodpantry.org.


Camden Area Christian Food Pantry Board of Directors


Happy 15th birthday

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.

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 more than 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 $1,800,000 dollars 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.

Meredith Batley

Executive Director

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