CRH Restructures Surgery Department

Calais Regional Hospital leadership remains committed to ensuring the hospital provides high quality care to our patients and operates at peak efficiency.  With the closure of the obstetrics program this summer, after-hours surgical services is no longer required and the hospital is now in a position to modify its surgical program and realize continued efficiencies and cost savings.   Effective September 21, weekend and after-hours surgery at Calais Regional Hospital will end.  

Clinical review of after-hours surgical procedures performed so far in 2017 indicates that 95% of the cases could have been stabilized for surgery the next business day.    This change will have minimal impact on patient access to care but a very positive impact on our financial performance.  Through August, CRH has incurred over $500,000 in expenses directly related to providing on-call surgical services.  By moving all surgical cases to a business day model, the hospital estimates it will realize an annualized savings of more than $800,000 on direct costs alone.  

This is a particularly appropriate time for the hospital to make this change.  In addition to the closure of OB, one of our general surgeons is leaving the community.  Were we to continue providing after-hours surgical services, the hospital would have to add a locum (on call/temporary) surgeon, while also incurring the expenses of recruiting a permanent replacement to maintain after-hours services.  This would easily put the annualized cost over a million dollars.

With operating room utilization currently running at 17-25%, there is ample capacity for cases that may present to the Emergency Department overnight, as well as for additional surgical specialty volume.    Our population size and community needs are well managed with a single general surgeon program and will allow CRH to focus resources on areas of highest need by our patients including pulmonology, urology, orthopedics, neurology and other areas.

CRH will continue to provide high quality care and excellent customer service in the most efficient manner possible. The organization is continuing to take action to improve performance now and over the long term, balancing access, quality and cost.