June 16, 2019

Solution or problem?

Meg Haskell’s article announcing the recommendation by three area legislators that Sister Norberta be considered to fill the Cabinet position as head of the Department of Human Services (BDN Feb. 27) outlined many personal and professional accomplishments that warrant her consideration for the position.

Unfortunately, the comment by Rep. Joe Perry that her handling of “the 800-pound gorilla next door,” a reference to Norm Ledwin and Eastern Maine Medical Center, would hardly be an accomplishment Sister Norberta should include in her resume if she chooses to formally apply for the position. At the same time, Rep. Perry should reserve the name-calling and mud-slinging to the political arena where it unfortunately has become commonplace.

Central and eastern Maine are fortunate to have the level of health care available through all the hospitals of our region, including the many that have chosen to be part of the Eastern Maine Healthcare system. As one of the more than 3,000 employees of the EMH system, I am proud we have focused our mission and vision to provide the best possible health care for our region and continue to raise the bar for ourselves and others.

It is ironic and sad that folks like Rep. Perry choose to focus their attention on criticizing EMH as a monopoly because of the number of hospitals and physicians who have and continue to ask to be part of our system. Critics’ energy would be better served by working on solutions to decrease the gap between what it costs to deliver health care in hospitals and physicians’ offices, and what government and insurance companies are willing to pay.

I encourage Rep. Perry to look at himself and ask the question, “Am I part of the solution or part of the problem?” If he answers the latter, he may need Sister Norberta’s expertise in running his re-election campaign.

Steve Russell


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