News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 7, 2014
BHMH changes annual meeting format, welcomes community to campus
Financials show positive trend

Honored for her years of service

Belinda O’Brien receives flowers from Blue Hill Memorial Hospital CEO John Ronan in recognition of 40 years of service.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Faith DeAmbrose

Blue Hill Memorial Hospital opened up its campus to host this year’s annual meeting on August 5. Held under a tent overlooking Blue Hill Bay, the meeting discussed the current state of hospital affairs, inducted new trustees and worked to build a sense of community deemed important by the hospital’s new Chief Executive, John Ronan.

The business portion of the meeting was kept short, focusing on the tasks at hand, leaving ample time for casual discussion with the 150 or so people in attendance.

Fiscal projections for 2014 are good, said Ronan, and for the last three months in a row there have been positive operating margins reported. “I believe we are turning a corner,” he said, alluding to the last many years of financial problems.

Ronan said that the hospital’s “cash on hand” is good, payables are up-to-date, and there is no long-term debt being used to cover basic operations.

In FY 2013, the hospital recorded a $554,633 profit, and in its ninth month of 2014 is on target to exceed that figure.

In the physical building, inpatient and emergency department services are down, but primary care and specialty services and outpatient surgeries have increased.

Recognized for their service to the board of trustees were David Snow of Surry, with 12 years of services, and Rich Howe of Stonington, with nine years. Howe was also given the hospital’s Distinguished Service Award along with an engraved chair with the BHMH logo.

Newly appointed trustees, Scott Gray, Scott Miller and Ted Clayton, were introduced.

Registered Nurse Belinda O’Brien spoke about the changes in the field of nursing over the past four decades. O’Brien has been an employee of BHMH for 40 years and spoke about how the emergency department, for many years, was a one-room—and often a one-person—service that has grown to meet current healthcare needs.

Over her career, O’Brien said she has seen how lifestyle choices affect health, how styles of management change the culture, and she has seen fluctuation between good times and lean, uncertain times. The integration of electronic medical records and telemedicine has also helped to facilitate great change in the profession, she said. “We’ve come a long way,” she concluded.

Also speaking briefly was the Chief Executive for Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Michelle Hood. Hood said she was pleased to support Ronan in his transition from interim to permanent CEO and that his support was unanimous among BHMH trustees and upper EMHS management.

She said that across the EMHS system there are 50 primary care practices and a handful of hospitals and that the entire system has “risen to a level of national prominence.”

She said EMHS is committed to providing exceptional care across Hancock County and cited the recently announced talks with Maine Coast Memorial Hospital (see related story on this page) as an example of the partnership and consolidation “we should expect to see” as the world of healthcare changes. She said the board of trustees at BHMH is behind the move and, if fully realized, the collaboration would be of benefit to BHMH patients.