GREENVILLE – For the first time in several years, the Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home is expected to end the year in the black.
“This year [2006 fiscal year], we’ll have a positive bottom line, the first in a long time,” Geno Murray, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, said Thursday during a press conference at the hospital. A few years ago, the hospital was losing $1.4 million a year, he said.
The turnabout came because of the good direction by the local board of directors, the hard work and dedication of the hospital and nursing home’s employees, and the hospital’s affiliation in 1998 with the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (EMHS), Murray said.
EMHS is comprised of seven member hospitals, including Eastern Maine Medical Center and Acadia Hospital in Bangor, and includes a statewide home health agency and four nursing homes. It serves central, eastern, and northern Maine and is a full service system that spans the continuum of care from cardiac care to the delivery of babies.
Despite C. A. Dean’s losses over the years, EMHS never hesitated to include it in its fold, according to Murray. “It is an extremely comforting thought that a system would support us and allow us to continue to provide services,” and yet leave control up to a local board, he said.
The critical care access hospital, which is licensed for 25 beds but operates with 13 beds, also includes a 24-bed nursing home. The hospital and nursing home have 164 full- and part-time employees and pump about $12 million a year into the local economy including $5.2 million in salaries, Murray said.
“There are very few communities of this size that are able to support a hospital locally,” the hospital official said. “We’re an evolving success story.”
He said the out-patient volume is up, the nursing home is at near capacity, and gross revenues continue to grow. In addition, the hospital is continuing to improve and renovate its facilities. A new building for Northwoods Healthcare, the local physician practice, is under construction on the campus.
Michelle Hood, president and chief executive officer of EMHS, also attended the press conference and said EMHS provides outlying hospitals with shared expertise and finances. It brings the resources of more than 5,000 professionals to the bedside of each and every patient in the system, either through personal contact or via monitors, she said. The affiliation provides stronger buying power for bulk healthcare products which in turn allows more financial resources directed to patient care.
“It’s our intent to grow the system,” Hood said. “Good health care means health care close to home. It makes no sense not to have a hospital in Greenville.”
Hood said a health-needs-assessment survey of residents in the greater Moosehead Lake region is under way. Three hundred households were visited, and the occupants were asked a series of questions centering on healthcare needs and issues. For example, the survey addressed mortality rates, chronic diseases, depression, and general wellness. The last such survey was done in the late 1990s, she said.
The results of the survey are being tabulated by the University of New England in Biddeford. Local strategies will be formed based on the responses, she said.