A Bangor hospital’s new president desires to make use of his expertise in Aroostook County to deal with monetary challenges introduced on by the COVID-19 pandemic whereas enhancing affected person entry to the care and specialists they want.
Gregory LaFrancois begins as Northern Mild Jap Maine Medical Heart’s new president July 1, Northern Mild Well being introduced Tuesday. He joined the hospital system in 2016 and at present works as AR Gould Hospital’s president.
LaFrancois, who grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, will proceed working as Northern Mild Well being’s senior vice chairman as effectively.
LaFrancois is getting into the position at a vital time for EMMC, which is one among Northern Mild Well being’s 10 hospitals across the state. The medical middle, like others in Maine and throughout the nation, is working to bounce again after being hit exhausting by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to staffing shortages and scaling again some providers.
The brand new president acknowledged these challenges and stated he plans to make use of his expertise main a number of hospitals, together with one in Presque Isle, to make sure sufferers proceed getting high quality care, whether or not they’re in Bangor or rural components of the state. In an interview Wednesday, he emphasised recruiting new workers, increase specialty providers and making psychological and behavioral well being care extra accessible.
“That is like taking my place at AR Gould and making it statewide,” LaFrancois stated about his new position. “I contemplate us the backstop for The County and contemplate EMMC the backstop for the northern three quarters of the state, doubtlessly the whole state.”
EMMC serves different Northern Mild hospitals in Maine and people exterior the system, he stated. That is particularly necessary for rural amenities that want to maneuver sufferers for the next stage of care, and LaFrancois likes that he’ll be capable to enhance that course of as president.
Staffing is vital for hospitals to thrive, and EMMC is working with fewer licensed beds as a result of there aren’t sufficient medical employees, he stated. Meaning the neighborhood doesn’t obtain the correct care.
LaFrancois desires to see a stronger effort to recruit and deal with its nurses in order that EMMC is a spot the place they wish to work, he stated. Nursing has alternatives past the bedside, he stated, and thinks extra individuals could be drawn to the sector in the event that they understood its breadth.
Burnout occurs primarily when individuals aren’t listened to and begin to really feel like a cog in a machine, he stated.
“In case you give individuals a voice and so they have some management over their work surroundings and the best way we do enterprise, you turn out to be much more resilient than you assume,” he stated. “There’s an answer to burnout, and we’ll get there.”
LaFrancois additionally spoke concerning the excessive quantity of sufferers in EMMC’s emergency division, significantly these with psychological and behavioral well being wants. EMMC stretches itself as a lot as it could to assist sufferers, however an emergency room is the flawed place to ship these providers, he stated.
Some wait hours and and even days at a time in emergency rooms across the state for a psychiatric care mattress at Acadia Hospital, the place a $49.2 million growth is underway to deal with the bottleneck.
“It’s not honest to a affected person to be on an emergency division cot for weeks at a time,” he stated. “That’s going to be an space of focus for me — getting individuals handled in the precise setting.”
Meaning working with space companions to make use of sources successfully, LaFrancois stated. Maine wants extra outpatient therapy choices, and the state ought to spend money on locations akin to Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Heart in Bangor and Rivers Edge Behavioral Well being Companies in Springfield, he stated.
Though EMMC has in the reduction of on some providers to help in its monetary restoration — eliminating cataract, glaucoma and oculoplastic surgical procedures in March, for instance — LaFrancois stated he doesn’t plan to make cuts or wish to see the hospital turn out to be smaller.
LaFrancois, who has a bachelor’s diploma in enterprise administration and a grasp’s in well being care administration, stated when a hospital grows its income, it additionally grows its capability. At AR Gould Hospital, he turned funds round by rising providers, which then grew to become self-sustaining, he stated.
He desires to see specialty providers like cardiology, which is proscribed in rural areas, appeal to high quality specialists to serve sufferers from across the state.
As his July begin date approaches, LaFrancois is raring to get to know the individuals who work at EMMC and perceive their wants, which he hopes will remove nervousness they may have a couple of new chief. He emphasised the significance of transparency and giving individuals the autonomy to run departments and develop of their jobs.
“We’ll set the course collectively,” he stated. “We as a gaggle must determine, ‘The place is the stake within the floor?’ and ‘The place are we going to take EMMC?’”