At a recent town hall meeting, 95% of the residents in nearby Southport have voted for a resolution to keep the hospital open. Similar votes are scheduled in other towns, including Boothbay Harbor and Edgecomb, home to Selectman Stuart Smith.
Smith serves on a four-town task force that is trying to find ways to keep the hospital open. He writes in the Boothbay Register that “We are told that MaineHealth has spent over $150 million” on its EHR but “Portland has had a real failure in its implementation” and that the cost “is huge in improper service and supply charges.”
Stuart and officials at Epic Systems, the EHR vendor for MaineHealth, were unavailable for comment at deadline.
But the picture at Boothbay is a quite bit different from that painted by Smith, according to Scott Shott, vice president of development, marketing and community relations for Lincoln County Health Care. It is a subsidiary of MaineHealth that operates both Boothbay and the 38-bed Miles Memorial Hospital, some 18 miles away in Damariscotta. In Maine, Shott said, if there's not a 24-hour emergency department, “you're no longer considered to be a licensed hospital.” The plan is to convert Boothbay to an urgent-care center and have emergency patients use Miles.
The shift is being made for financial and quality of care reasons, according to Shott.
“The emergency department sees 0.6 patients on average every night,” he said. “There is no link between information systems and any financial distress on our organization.”
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn