CALAIS – A nurses union and some residents are at odds with Calais Regional Hospital in the wake of the facility ending its obstetrics program.
The board of directors announced in May it would be ending the program – which they say accounts for $500,000 of CRH’s $1.2 million in losses from 2016 – and last weekend the final anticipated delivery was made.
The hospital’s CEO, Rod Boula cites a lack of commitment from the area to his facility, claiming out of the 115 newborns in the region last year, only 64 were delivered at CRH. He also says the area has an aging population, and that he needs to tailor his services to the needs of his potential patients.
Representatives from the Maine State Nurses Association disagree.
“If you’re an expectant mother, do you want to be driving up to two hours round-trip to Machias on route nine,” labor representative Todd Ricker said “[On] a two-lane highway, in the middle of winter when you’re expecting a child?”
Ricker adds the hospital pays its consulting firm, Quorum Health Resources nearly $1 million per year. He says the out of state firm has a history of corruption and not listening to the needs of institutions’ nurses. The union held a town hall meeting Wednesday, where nurses and residents spoke about the need for the O.B. services, and their frustration with the lack of conversation with the hospital’s board of directors.
According to Boula, the O.B. program creates the largest loss for the hospital; “We’re in survival mode here in our facility, and it’s paycheck to paycheck right now.”