Dr. Freston Heads Hospitalist Team

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Fort Kent ~ Peter Sirois, Northern Maine Medical Center’s (NMMC) Chief Executive Officer, announced that Dr. Christina Freston has been named director of NMMC’s Hospitalist Program. The concept of hospitalists was first introduced in 1996; today, seventy five percent of U.S. hospitals employ this specialty of physician. A hospitalist program offers many advantages in the care of hospitalized patients. Because hospitalists do not maintain a private outside practice, their time is devoted solely to caring for hospitalized patients. Hospitalists are located in the hospital and specialize in all aspects of a patient’s care – from admission to discharge. To do this, hospitalists manage and coordinate the entire inpatient experience while working closely with the patient’s primary care physician.

According to a September 15, 2016 New England Journal of Medicine article titled, Zero to 50,000 –The 20th Anniversary of the Hospitalist, “Today, hospital medicine is a respected field whose greatest legacies may be improvement of care and efficiency, injection of systems thinking into physician practice, and the vivid demonstration of our health care system’s capacity for massive change under the right conditions.” As Director of the Hospitalist Program at NMMC, Dr. Freston’s responsibilities include membership on the Clinical Services Committee and the Information Technology Steering Committee. She also serves as liaison with the medical staff, is responsible for hospitalist team oversight and is a partner for the development of inpatient policies and procedures.

Dr. Freston received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, in May of 2007. She attended medical school at Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa, and completed her internship and residency in June of 2015, at Alaska Family Medicine in Anchorage, Alaska, where she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Freston holds professional memberships with: the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the Osteopathic Medical Association. Dr. Freston joined Dr. Kristin Hartt; Nurse Practitioner, Christy Madore; and Physician Assistant, Charles Albert of the Family Practice and Obstetrics Team in Fort Kent in August of 2015. In addition to her new leadership responsibilities, Dr. Freston will continue to provide primary care in Fort Kent along with the services she provides at the Acadia Family Health Center in Madawaska one day a week.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Remember Me – Lifetime Achievement

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Photo left to right: Ben Goupille, grandson, Lisa Goupille, daughter, Christine Goupille, granddaughter holding great grandson

Fort Kent ~ Theresa Violette, 91 year old resident of Forest Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, was a 2017 nominee to the Maine Health Care Association’s (MCHA) Remember ME program.  Mrs. Violette and her family received notification in April that she had been selected to receive the Honorable Lifetime Achievement Award from the MHCA. Charlene Taggart, Forest Hill’s Activities Coordinator said, “Theresa wasn’t sure what was happening until her daughter Lisa read the award and showed her the book. In reflecting on the recognition, Theresa realized how full her life has been and how much she has accomplished thus far in her lifetime.

The Remember ME program is one of MHCA’s most popular programs. The annual event features photographs, accompanied by brief biographies of pioneering, innovative and interesting residents living in Maine long term care facilities. The judges look at each nominee’s personal story and how it is significant or how the resident has overcome adversity.  Secondary to the life story, judges also measure age, gender, geography, past facility participation, and adherence to nomination criteria in making their decision.

Born and raised in Madawaska, Maine, Mrs. Violette entered the work force right after she graduated from Madawaska High School. At age 29, she married Henry Violette, who worked as a chemist for Fraser Paper. She started out as a book keeper for the St. John Construction Brick and Block Company for eleven years. She also developed blueprints for the construction of homes sold to employees of Fraser Paper Company. Afterward, she worked for nearly four years at Fraser Paper, manually counting paper. According to Mrs. Violette, her greatest career accomplishment was her work with the Acadian Crafters where she served for thirty years as the manager. The Acadian Crafters knitted and crocheted hats, socks and mittens for the LL Bean Company. Mrs. Violette also enjoyed volunteer work, delivering meals and clothing, on behalf of the Aroostook County Action Program, to families in need across the St. John Valley.  Despite their busy professional careers and high level of engagement in their communities, the Violettes made time to raise seven children. The home in which the family lived for forty years is now known as the Acadian Homestead, located in Madawaska.

On April 21, Forest Hill held a celebration to honor Mrs. Violette for her lifetime achievements and acknowledgement of all the lives she touched. According to Taggart, Mrs. Violette is still talking about the celebration held in her honor and continues to ask if it was real -or but a dream. As a resident of Forest Hill, Theresa enjoys participating in all the activities; she admits her favorite event is bingo.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

NMMC Physician Sworn In

Dr Sidorczuk

Fort Kent ~ Dr. Silwana Sidorczuk, Family Practice physician at Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC), was sworn in as President Elect for the Maine Academy of Family Practitioners at their annual meeting. A member of MAFP Board of Directors since 2014, Dr. Sidorczuk began her two year term as President Elect at the annual MAFP meeting earlier this Spring.

As a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), MAFP is part of one of the nation’s largest medical organizations, representing more than 94,300 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students nationwide. Founded in 1947, the AAFP’s mission is to preserve and promote the science and art of family medicine and to ensure high quality, cost-effective health care for patients of all ages. One of the ways in which they uphold their mission is by offering the MAFP annual education conference which provides ongoing quality education for family physicians through didactic lectures and breakout sessions on subjects pertinent to daily practice.

Dr. Sidorczuk, certified by the American Board of Family Practice Physicians, has been practicing as a family physician at NMMC since 2007.  She brings over ten years of experience to the patients she treats at NMMC’s Acadia Family Health Center (AFHC). Sidorczuk is an active member of the medical staff and a faculty member for the Tufts University School of Medicine in which capacity she serves as an offsite clinical supervisor for medical students. AFHC is designated by Tufts University Medical School as a Maine Track Teaching Site. She also serves on the faculty for the University of New England and most recently for the Quinnipiac University, Frank H. Netter School of Medicine.

Sidorczuk views the appointment as an opportunity to advocate for Family Physicians, patients and citizens of northern Maine; to enhance communication to and among physician members and primary care physicians; and to provide clinical and policy information to Family Physicians in northern Maine. With her role as a faculty member for three schools of medicine, this is also an opportunity to promote what northern Maine has to offer and to develop recruiting connections.

To learn more about the MAFP mission to support practice concepts and promote excellence in healthcare in Maine, go to www.maineafp.org.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Dr. Lahren -Guest Speaker

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Fort Kent ~ Dr. Rodney Lahren, general surgeon at Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) was a guest speaker earlier this spring at the Family Medicine Conference sponsored by the Maine Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP). Dr. Lahren spoke to an audience of nearly one hundred physicians, residents and medical students at the annual conference held in Freeport, Maine. His topic, Surgical Surprise, covered common scenarios of potential surgical emergencies seen in the primary care offices and discussed treatment options for the surgical scenarios.

Participants at the two and a half day program had multiple topics of interest to select from: management of Type II diabetes, palliative and hospice care, sleep apnea, health screening for women and identification and management of mosquito-borne illnesses. Dr. Silwana Sidorczuk, Family Practice physician at NMMC said, “Dr. Lahren’s topic was very relevant to the practice of primary care. His presentation was interactive and the pertinent cases he presented were very engaging.” Dr. Sidorczuk is also the President Elect for MAFP and has been very involved with the coordination and planning for the Academy’s annual education programs.

Dr. Lahren has been practicing in Maine for twenty three years; he is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS). General Surgery Services offered by Dr. Lahren at NMMC include outpatient surgical procedures as well as major laparoscopic and open abdominal procedures, cesarean sections, colorectal surgery, breast surgery and other soft tissue procedures.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Secure Access to Medical Information

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Fort Kent ~ Earlier this month, Sharon Bearor, Clinical Program Director for HealthInfoNet, was onsite at Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) to meet with clinical staff to provide an overview of HealthInfoNet HIN) and the Maine Health Information Exchange (HIE). Over the two day visit, she offered nine training sessions which were attended by physicians, Medical Assistants, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants, both in Fort Kent and Madawaska. The focus of the program was to: demonstrate an understanding of Maine’s statewide Health Information Exchange provided by HealthInfoNet, understand how to access the Clinical Portal and develop knowledge and skills to navigate the Clinical Portal to view needed data to enhance collaboration and continuity of patient care.

Bearor was pleased to announce that all of Maine’s thirty seven hospitals are currently connected to HIN, in addition to thirty eight Federally Qualified Health Clinics and 450 ambulatory sites including: physician practices, behavioral health and long term care facilities. HIN is a private nonprofit independent organization and is not owned by insurance companies, healthcare organizations, employers or government. HealthInfoNet operates Maine’s statewide Health Information Exchange which provides a secure electronic method to share medical information between healthcare providers. The benefits of the HIE support care coordination across multiple systems of care, reduces conflicting treatment recommendations and avoids repeating tests and procedures thereby avoiding unnecessary costs and inconveniences for patients.

According to Joshua Desjardin, NMMC’s Clinical Informatics Coordinator and liaison with HealthInfoNet, the system works by combining information from separate healthcare sites to create a single electronic patient health record. Desjardin said, “The benefits of participating in the HIE for patients are many in that the HIE provides real-time notifications for time sensitive events like emergency room visits, critical lab results or hospital discharges.” Maine law includes a specification which allows patients to opt-out from participating in the HIE by simply completing an opt-out consent online, on paper or over the phone. When a patient opts-out, they need only to do it once for all care locations at which time their clinical data is removed from the HIE. When opting out, patients may choose to: share medical information only, share mental health information, HIV information or remove all medical information from the HIE. Patients can opt back in any time they decide to do so. Bearor informed participants that only 1.3% of all Maine’s 1.2 million residents have opted out of HIN. To learn more about HealthInfoNet and the Health Information Exchange, to www.hinfonet.org.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Celebrating Patient Experience Week

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PHOTO: Employees in all healthcare roles make up the patient experience. Left to right –Benson Ouellette, Cardiopulmonary; Ronda Dionne, Materials Management; Sharon Saucier, Health Information; Renita Dill, Laboratory

Fort Kent ~ Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) joined healthcare facilities across the country this week in celebrating Patient Experience Week. The national celebration, held annually, celebrates clinical and non-clinical staff for their efforts in making a difference in patient experiences every day. This year, Patient Experience week runs from April 24 through April 28.

The Beryl Institute originally organized this event, which began in 2014, as a way of celebrating accomplishments, reenergizing efforts and honoring those responsible for impacting patients. The Beryl Institute is an organization dedicated to improving the patient experience by providing education through self-study, online webinars as well as in person. The Institute also provides an abundance of resources, such as access to evidence based research papers and access to global collaboration by connecting healthcare organizations around the world in to promote sharing of ideas and best practices.

Courtney Deprey, Director of Patient Experience, who is leading the weeklong celebration said, “The Beryl Institute has been a great resource in strengthening NMMC’s focus on the patient experience. Approximately three years ago, NMMC adopted the Beryl Institute’s mantra, We Are ALL the Patient Experience. Since then, every single person hired at NMMC, no matter what their role, is exposed to the culture of excellence on the very first day of employment when they meet with Deprey. As a result, NMMC employees have raised the bar for excellence as demonstrated by the numerous quality awards earned over the past three years, including the most recent – named by the National Rural Health Association as one of the Top 20 Rural Community Hospitals in the country.
Through the Triple Aim Quality Initiative, the last four months leading up to this weeklong event, each department at NMMC has focused on making small changes that positively impact the patient experience. One of the events taking place during Patient Experience week is a poster contest that summarizes and demonstrates changes implemented by each area to improve the patient experience. These posters will be on display throughout the week at various hospital entrances to provide an opportunity to the public to view the amazing work that has taken place. In addition, other activities are taking place: color theme days, a coloring contest, games, special treats during meals for patient appreciation, and the week will wrap up with poster presentations to include light refreshments to thank employees for their commitment to excellence.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Live Life to its Fullest

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Fort Kent ~ Michelle Plourde, Physical Therapist and Northern Maine Medical Center’s (NMMC) Therapy Department Supervisor, is proud of the work done each day by NMMC’s Occupational Therapy Team who are recognized across the country this month for the important work done by their profession. Sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the annual recognition is directed toward promoting the profession. AOTA represents the interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations and serving as an advocate to improve health care.

Occupational therapy enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. Plourde said, “Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on activities that are meaningful to our individual patients. It is occupational therapy’s purpose to get beyond problems to the solutions that assure living life to its fullest. These solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.”  According to AOTA, it is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and best practices that have been developed and proven over time.

When working patients, occupational therapy practitioners customize strategies and modifications for each individual to resolve problems, improve function, and support everyday living activities. The goal is to maximize potential. Through these therapeutic approaches, occupational therapy helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments –whether home, school, or work and build health-promoting habits and routines that allow them to thrive. For more information, go to www.aota.org.

To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

NMMC Earns Top Quality Designation

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PHOTO: Proud employees represent NMMC in its commitment to excellence

Fort Kent ~ The Top 20 Rural Community Hospital rankings were recently announced by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) is one of only twenty hospitals from across the country, and the only one in the state of Maine, who has earned this top distinction. The Top 20 Rural Community Hospital winners are those hospitals who have achieved success in its overall performance based on a composite rating from eight indices of strength: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspectives, costs, charges and financial stability. The Top 20 Hospital designation from NHRA is a direct result of the work of NMMC employees for their unwavering commitment to their patients.

NMMC Chief Executive Officer, Peter Sirois said, “We owe this honor to the efforts of our incredible team of dedicated and skilled employees and providers. We also value the feedback from our patients to help guide us in delivering the best patient experience and the highest quality of health care. Our results as a top health care provider means our community can count on us to deliver the services they need now and in the future.” Sue Devoe, RN, NMMC’s Director of Quality said, “We pledge to our patients every day to be a high reliability healthcare organization and we are committed to a culture of zero harm.” She also said that NMMC’s culture supports the empowerment of front line employees to do the right thing and to embrace best practices.

The Top 20 RCH winners will be honored at a luncheon for NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference and Rural Hospital Innovation Summit in San Diego, California on May 11. NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and wellbeing of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NRHA membership is made up of 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health. For more information, visit RuralHealthWeb.org.
To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Fat Calorie Detectives

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PHOTO left to right: Kathleen Moneghan, PA-C & Tyler Stoliker, FNP-C provide an overview for the medical community about the NDPP

Fort Kent ~ Last year, Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) offered a nationally recognized program to its employees and family members in support of health and wellness. The program is one which was developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as an effective workplace program and has proven to reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for American workers. The course offered is called the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) which is a structured course offered across the country. NMMC has announced that when the program is offered again this year, an invitation will be extended to the public to join the lifestyle change program. At the conclusion of last year’s program, nearly 80% of participants met or exceeded the goal of 7% weight reduction with an impressive collective loss of two hundred twenty seven pounds.

NDPP was created by the CDC for individuals who are at risk for developing diabetes. Eighty six million Americans have pre-diabetes, which is more than one out of three people. Pre-diabetes increases one’s risk for type two diabetes but can also lead to other chronic and serious medical conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Screening for diabetes risk factors includes: having a sibling or parent with diabetes, individuals age 65 or younger who get little or no daily exercise, over age 65, or a history of giving birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds.

Tyler Stoliker, NMMC Family Nurse Practitioner and one of the two Lifestyle Coaches who teach the course said, “The Program is promoted as a lifestyle change and not a fad diet.” Each participant is asked to set personal goals in addition to the program goals. As part of the core curriculum covered, participants receive general education about pre diabetes, diabetes and related health risks. They also learn about fat grams and their relation to overall caloric intake.

Kathleen Moneghan, NMMC Physician Assistant and Lifestyle Coach said, “The Program raises awareness about what you put into your body.” She also said that the group dynamics of sharing amongst class participants makes a significant difference and contributes to individual success. Throughout the yearlong program, participants have the opportunity to share strategies for success as well as support and encourage one another when they have a relapse. As the program progresses, the importance of physical activity is incorporated into the program. NDPP recommends one hundred fifty minutes of exercise each week, combined with the nutrition component, in order to be successful. Classes are interactive and include opportunities to speak with a nutritionist, learn proper techniques for stretching muscles, work with restaurant menus and exchange recipes.

Sandra San Antonio, Director for NMMC’s Medical Practices said, “The focus of the program is for individuals to be successful so we are doing everything we can to remove any obstacles that could prevent people from participating.” Participants will be charged a nominal fee for the program which will then be refunded for those who complete the program. The initial information session will be held on May 3 at 6 pm in the Medical Library at NMMC. Anyone interested in learning more or registering for the Program are asked to contact their primary care provider.
To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!

Put Your Best Fork Forward

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PHOTO back row left to right: Gail Marquis, Supervisor; Nicole Saucier; Paige Theriault; Carol Theriault; Amy Guerrette

Front row left to right: Linda Gagnon, Jeanne Ouellette, Sue Guerrette, Marielle Charette

Fort Kent ~Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) joins the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the nation in educating the public on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Because the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest starting with small changes in order to make healthier lasting changes, the 2017 theme was selected to serve as an inspiration to start with small changes in eating habits – one forkful at a time.

Determining fact from fiction when searching online for health information can be overwhelming and often confusing. The Academy is a highly reputable resource for consumers who seek answers to healthy eating questions as well as nutrition guidelines to optimize healthy living at all ages.

NMMC’s Nutrition Department has implemented several enhancements to its services over the past year to improve the patient and the employee experience and to expand its healthy choice offerings. Some of the more recent changes are: on-call dining, elimination of a deep fryer, assessment of vending machine offerings, policy revisions which support healthy food choices, education through newsletters, creation of a walking trail on the hospital campus and healthy menu choices at meetings and events. In addition, Gail Marquis, Nutrition Supervisor, has also begun to make weekly inpatient rounds as a mechanism to get first hand feedback from patients on the food service.
To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!