CRH and DECH Hoping To Bridge OB/GYN Care for Calais Area Patients

Shortly before the public announcement that Calais Regional Hospital (CRH) planned to close its OB program by January of 2018 or sooner, Rod Boula, CEO of CRH reached out to Dennis Welsh, CEO of Down East Community Hospital (DECH) to explore what possibilities exist for DECH to provide OB patients in the Calais area with high quality OB and delivery services. “It is regrettable that this tough decision had to be made, but the administration and board are committed to preserving the hospital’s viability as a whole for the community. While our volumes have been detrimentally low for the service, we do realize there are patients in our service area that will require ob/gyn services and felt it was important to reach out on behalf of these patients for some level of service to be provided locally,” explained Mr. Boula.
Trying to find a solution that keeps the services in Washington County would relieve the burden of extra travel for the residents of the Calais area. Mr. Welsh stated, “We’re committed to working with our Washington County partner to explore an opportunity to keep the service regional. As rural CAH hospitals, we both face very similar challenges and realize that DECH could face similar tough decisions in the future with OB or other service lines. Unfortunately, CRH had to make a decision that many rural hospitals across the U.S. have had to make over the years. At this point, DECH has been fortunate as we’ve been able to maintain a strong program. Our births have gone up somewhat over the past year which has kept the program stable. Health care is a really tough environment that’s constantly shifting. Between CRH and DECH, we have a large service area to cover and our population needs are very similar. What is for certain is that our communities need us. Geographical boundaries don’t always best define that need.”
“We look forward to growing a relationship with DECH for providing quality ob/gyn care locally for area residents. Other women’s health services will continue to be available through primary care locations including screening and testing services such as well woman visits, mammography, bone density, ultrasound, laboratory testing and more,” said Mr. Boula. While finding a solution will be challenging due to the rules and regulations placed on Critical Access Hospitals regarding service area and allowable cost reimbursement, both CEO’s feel trying to find a solution would best serve the mission of both organizations, which is to serve the health care needs of our communities.