The board of trustees for St. Andrews Hospital released a document on Feb. 20 to answer some frequent questions about how decisions are made and business is conducted at the hospital.
The board members serve simultaneously as the trustees of Lincoln County Healthcare, St. Andrews Hospital, and Miles Memorial Hospital.
Jim Donovan, president and CEO of Lincoln County Healthcare, said on Feb. 26 the four-page “white paper” was the trustees’ “attempt to answer questions in a way that people could understand them.”
“We’re dealing with a world that a lot of people don’t understand, the not-for-profit world,” Donovan said.
Following the announcement last summer of the still-pending closure of the emergency department at St. Andrews, the board was criticized for lack of public involvement and transparency in its decision-making process.
“Many people were comparing it to the way a town makes its decisions, which, as a private not-for-profit, we don’t make our decisions in the same way,” Donovan said.
According to the document, local control of St. Andrews comes from the participation of local community leaders on the board of trustees.
According to the document, “These people … volunteer their time and talents to ensure the delivery of high quality, affordable care to their community and county. Our governance starts at the local level.”
Other subjects addressed by the trustees in the document are the decision to join MaineHealth, St. Andrews operating losses of over $7.1 million in the last 12 years, and physician participation on the board of trustees, among others.
A second “white paper” will be released in the coming weeks that will address the current health care environment, challenges rural health care providers face, and focus on the trustees’ vision of health care in the Boothbay region, Donovan said. The second document will provide plans for programs and services to be offered in the region, he said.
A meeting between the trustees and the residents of the Boothbay region is planned for on or around March 20 to discuss the health care vision and answer any questions people may have, but details aren’t yet set in stone, Donovan said.
“We’re always open to questions and suggestions from our community, from our patients, from our customers,” Donovan said. “We hope that we have a discussion during this meeting, not just a presentation, not just a question and answer session, either.”
“Our goal will be to have people leave the meeting with a better understanding of where health care is going in general, in our perspective, and how we’re responding to the challenges of the health care environment today and how we’re responding to the challenges of foreseeable future,” he said.