Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Brunswick’s “Health Care” Evolution, wanted or not…

This might be a good time for you to reread this post-


from last August, which featured this graphic as an opening:


It included these as well:


How prophetic, thought it took no particular insight or genius to read the handwriting on the wall.  And the Side family has now experienced the final shoe dropping.

Let’s go back a bit.  At least for us, there have been three ‘major’ players involved in this evolution.  The Mid Coast Health System; the Parkview Adventist Medical Center (PAMC); and the Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC), located in Lewiston.  From Side’s perspective, all three have failed to live up to their commitments and ideals of their calling, and worse, been downright dismissive of the clients involved in all the churning and chafing of ownership, practices, and facilities.

Mid Coast, in recent years, has been on an expansion/acquisition crusade that at least from our perspective approximates the feeding behavior of crocodiles.  PAMC, never particularly ambitious or aggressive business-wise, in keeping with its roots, was easy prey on Mid Coast’s home turf.  CMMC somehow came into play in a futile attempt to rescue PAMC from imminent total financial collapse.

Going back to last year’s post, we told you how we lost our specialist, who had become an employee of PAMC.  In the letter notifying us of his ‘separation,’ it’s fair to say that the explanation and guidance offered were at best perfunctory.  In fact, his practice in the nearby Parkview Professional Building was shutting down completely.

The practice that included our PCP’s, which operated in the main Parkview building, in the medical office wing, continued to operate more or less ‘normally.’  At one time a privately owned practice, it eventually became Parkview Family Health Care, and all employees became employees of PAMC.

Eventually, as part of dealing with their financial difficulties, CMMC got involved in ownership/management of the practice, at which time it became Brunswick Primary Care, still located in the Parkview office wing.  How that worked we have no clue.  But checks got written to CMMC for services rendered.

A little more than a month ago, Side visited his Primary Care Physician for an annual ‘wellness check.’  At that visit, a memo posted in the office said that one of the Doctors who had been there for years was leaving, with no further details provided.  I mentioned it to the nurse who took me in and took my vitals, asked the usual questions, etc.  She has been there for quite a while.  She told me they were confident that the practice was in a stable position, and no-one was particularly worried.

Our visit with our Doctor went as usual, with no indication given that change was in the air.

A few weeks later, Mrs. Side had an office visit with her Nurse Practitioner at the office, and came home to tell me that Side’s Doctor was leaving, with no details, other than for a non-clinical position with Mid Coast.  Oops….several more dominoes fall.

Yesterday, April 25th, both of us received letters dated April 8th from Central Maine Medical Group stating that Side’s doctor had ‘resigned,’ and that the Brunswick Primary Care practice would be closing in mid-May.  Why it took 17 days for that letter to reach us we can’t say.

So besides your editor having to find a new specialist, both Side and Mrs. Side have to make new arrangements for our primary care.  Having to do so in our mid-70’s with so little notice is not the least bit appreciated, thank you very much.

Service providers in the health field are often referred to as members of the ‘caring professions.’  While we were generally happy and pleased with the care we received from our personal practitioners, we are anything but happy with those managing the major transitions underway, to who knows what end. 

We don’t know whether similar churning is going on all around the country as the Health Care industry adjusts and realigns to Obama Care (the ACA), or that instead, we in this area have been singled out for our own narrowly targeted travails.

What we do know is this.  The management of the one time proposed “Mid Coast Parkview Health System” has been mis-leading and duplicitous in its pronouncements, and progressive disclosure has been the norm.  Public assurances that things would be worked out for the benefit of all seem insensitive at the least in retropsect. 

Respect and consideration for their aggregate client base, which leans heavily toward the senior citizen demographic, has been essentially non-existent, at least from our personal experience.  We assume this reflects on whatever combination of Mid Coast and one time Parkview management has been and is in place over the transition period.

Similarly, the letter we received yesterday, signed by the VP of Practice Operations at the Central Maine Medical Group, is a model of detached, impersonal, and disinterested language.

If this is what ‘caring professionals’ are like in our day, heaven help us and our progeny.  If we had a say in it, which we clearly don’t, you’d be hearing raspberries all around.

1 comment:

  1. Despite how you feel about MidCoast, I can say without any reservation that MidCoast and its affiliates are better for senior health than much of the rest of the state.

    I can't speak for CMMC, but I will say that healthcare in Maine is in trouble. There are huge staff shortages coming. There are not enough physicians to cover the growing number of geriatric patients. There are not enough resources period.

    Sometimes we don't know how well off we are within our own regions. But you do have a strong partner in MidCoast compared to the rest of Maine.