BLUE HILL — Blue Hill Memorial Hospital is still in the black for the fifth year in a row and, come Oct. 1, will have a new name.
President and Chief Executive Officer John Ronan discussed developments Tuesday in a conversation preceding the hospital’s annual meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 8.
“I’m very pleased where we are,” Ronan said. “We will finish in the black again this year. That’s the fifth year in a row since I’ve been president.”
As for the new name, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will become Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital.
Blue Hill is a member hospital of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, which initiated the change.
Kelley Columber, communications director for both Blue Hill and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital — soon to be Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital — said there will be a new logo along with the new names.
“There’s also a lot of work being done around the brand promise and patient experience,” Columber said.
There are nine hospitals under the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems umbrella.
On a related note, Ronan said one of the biggest issues for small, rural hospitals such as Blue Hill and Ellsworth is volume.
“Our volumes have stayed steady,” said Ronan. That includes volume of business in both the Blue Hill hospital’s emergency department and primary care practices.
Another area that’s helping Blue Hill is the TLC or “swing bed” program, he said.
Ronan gave the example of a patient who might have a hip surgery at sister hospital Eastern Maine Health Center in Bangor. The first night after the surgery the patient needs to be in an “acute care bed.”
The next couple nights the patient may not be ready to go home but still needs hospital care so he would be transferred to Blue Hill until he’s ready to be discharged.
“Our census on any average day is 75 percent swing bed patients,” Ronan said.
The swing bed program helps the hospital utilize its resources and staff.
“There’s a certain amount of core staffing I have to have whether we have zero patients or 12 patients,” said Ronan.
Ronan said Blue Hill’s donor base has been “very supportive. We’ve been fortunate.”
“Any dollar raised for Blue Hill stays in Blue Hill,” the president said.
In other business, there are changes on the board of directors.
Board members Charlie Hatfield and Sally Mills are “terming out,” Ronan said.
Board members Gordon Stewart and Jim Schatz are also resigning from the board.