Regarding your Aug. 31 article titled “Rewritten contracts cause unrest at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital,” I strongly agree with the comments made by my colleagues Drs. Williamson and Blom regarding “doctor dissatisfaction.”
Yes, morale has been poor for quite some time for many who work at our hospital. Sadly, it is worsening. The number of health care practitioners (physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses) who have left in the last five years and will continue to leave is clear to anyone who has eyes to see or ears to hear. I also agree that the union with Eastern Maine Medical Center has only accelerated this loss. Increasingly, at our hospital, the major focus of attention has been the time and cost of compliance with bureaucratic regulations. What we have lost is much of the time spent with and for patients. What the staff has become no longer willing to tolerate is the “lack of respect” shown us by those given power over us. I practiced medicine at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital for 40 years, leaving my practice at Ellsworth Internal Medicine in mid-2014, for the same reasons that most others have left.
Twenty-five years ago, I was impressed that countless summer patients preferred to have their care here rather than in the large cities where they live most of the year. They did this because of the nature of the care that was provided in our rural hospital. Most practitioners did believe that MCMH is a “gem.” It is difficult to believe that now.
I applaud Dr. Williamson and Dr. Blom for pointing out the obvious — the continual loss of much of the longtime MCMH staff is not a good thing. Locums (temporary practitioners) by their nature will not be able to provide that continuity of care, making it harder and harder for the remaining core to do so.
Richard A. LaRocco, MD