At Stephens Memorial Hospital, our values are at the very core of our mission of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America. Wherever and whenever you interact with us, you can expect our team members to embody our values in action.
After suspending non-emergency visits to protect patients and care team members during the pandemic, Stephens increased our utilization of telehealth technology to ensure that patients continued to receive needed care.
Telehealth allows providers and patients to meet virtually online, using a secure connection to their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Just like a regular health care appointment, patients can use a telehealth visit to discuss medical concerns, symptoms, get a prescription, a diagnosis and more.
Stephens was able to quickly ramp up telehealth visits thanks to the resources of MaineHealth and local support by Dr. Gregory Hardy, Chief Medical Officer and other local clinical and administrative leaders.
Even after the pandemic subsides, telehealth will remain an important option for delivering health care to our patients who lack transportation, struggle to find childcare or have mobility limitations.
Delivering on our commitment to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art care, close to home, the Bob & Sandy Bahre Health Center, opened in October of 2020. The new medical office building, located on Stephens campus in Norway, provides state-of-the-art clinical space for specialists to serve the Oxford Hills community, resulting in shorter wait times for patients to see a specialist and in many cases eliminating the need for patients to travel for care.
The Health Center was named in honor of the late Bob Bahre and his wife Sandy, in recognition of their generous support over the years to the hospital and the community. Their generosity has been extensive across our community, state and beyond. Although their support is often quiet and anonymous, the impact of their giving is profound and touches many across our community.
The Bob & Sandy Bahre Health Center, is a collaboration between MaineHealth and Stephens Memorial Hospital and is evidence of how local communities benefit from being part of an integrated health care system.
The first floor is home to the SMH Physical Rehabilitation department. The new treatment space is double in size, finally allowing sufficient space to meet the need for this care in our community. The space enables us to enhance our physical, occupational and speech therapy programs overall, with new programming, equipment and space for group exercise
The second floor is home to the Stephens Center for Specialty Care, which provides expanded specialty care services with physicians from Portland-based Maine Medical Partners. Specialty care will include: Oncology, Cardiology, Urology, and Audiology, with opportunity for additional services to be added in the future.
Team Stephens recognizes that health care is only a piece of the solution to overall health. Together with the MaineHealth Food Insecurity program, we have launched a training and education initiative to increase food insecurity awareness across our primary care teams. Patients experiencing food insecurity will be screened, identified and given healthy food in the primary care setting. Ongoing nutrition support will also be provided when needed.
At Western Maine Pediatrics, patients are screened for food insecurity during their Well Child Visits. When a family is identified as food insecure, they are connected to federal nutrition programs or referred to community resources and services. Through a partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank, families also receive a bag of healthy food from our team.
Stephens Memorial Hospital, Norway Savings Bank and The Progress Center partnered with the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Food Mobile on a drive-thru food distribution site. Together, we provided fresh produce and dry goods to over 250 households in our community.
Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Food Mobile program expands the hunger relief organization’s outreach to Maine’s neediest and most underserved communities. The Food Mobiles rotate through communities known to have a demand for emergency and supplemental food that has outgrown the capacity of local food pantries. Anyone who shows up receives food, no questions asked.
In May of 2020, Stephens Memorial Hospital welcomed new Registered Nurse graduates: Zachary Bell, Allison Mains, Emily Morrison, India Orino and Grace Stover to the New Graduate RN Program at Stephens Memorial Hospital.
The program is a formal 12-week New Graduate Nurse Development Program led by Erin Olmstead, RN, BSN, Clinical Nurse Educator and is designed for students who recently graduated and passed their nursing exam. This program provides comprehensive orientation designed to encourage increased confidence and competence, including a blend of classroom and clinical experience with a preceptor-led clinical.
Upon completion of the twelve weeks, new nurses seeking to work in specialty areas such as surgical services or obstetrical care receive additional orientation. Immediately following the orientation period, new graduate nurses receive further support in our two-year Transition to Practice Support Program and Mentoring Program. These programs ensure that new nursing graduates are supported and feel valued within the unit and at SMH, gain a thorough understanding of the unit and the values, mission and culture, increased job satisfaction, increased personal satisfaction, and functioning at a higher level of practice.
The Leapfrog Group has named Stephens Memorial Hospital as a 2020 Top Rural Hospital, one of just 2% of hospitals nationally to receive this distinction. The award is Leapfrog’s most competitive and elite national award, assessing hospital performance on its quality and safety.
The Top Rural Hospital Award goes to hospitals that demonstrate effectiveness in preventing infection, strong practices for safer surgery and maternity care, capacity to prevent medication errors, and a host of other safety and quality safeguards. To qualify for the Top Hospital distinction, a hospital must rank at the top among its peers on the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey. We thank our care team for their commitment to providing safe patient care.
Stephens Memorial Hospital also received a perfect five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for outstanding patient experience.
Covering areas such how well patients feel the care team communicated with them during their stay, how well patients understood their medication regimens and home care plans, how clean and quiet our hospitals was, and the quality of our food, the Patient Experience rating captures the most important aspects of how patients feel about the care they receive from our hospital. CMS posts patient experience star ratings on Hospital Compare, a consumer-oriented website that provides information on how well hospitals provide recommended care to their patients. This information can help consumers make informed decisions about where to go for health care.
“We are incredibly proud of our Care Team for this achievement,” said Margaret Burns, Chief Nursing Officer. “Our goal at Stephens is to listen and respond to our patients’ needs at every touchpoint along their journey with us and beyond, in ensuring a safe transition of care. This starts with providing excellent care in a supportive and healing environment. We are truly honored with this recognition.”
Throughout 2020 Stephens has invested significant energy to re-design and upgrade our policies and safeguards that keep our patients, visitors, and staff safe. Since launching our Workplace Violence Prevention initiative, a tremendous amount of work has been conducted to improve the safety of our valuable care team members. Care Team members from across the organization were recruited to assist in efforts to address three principle areas:
Policy and Practice– Reviewed and updated policies, procedures and new, mandatory training for all staff on how to recognize and deescalate potentially threatening situations
Physical Environment – Examined all campus spaces and areas, including technology and communication tools, and prioritized a list of safety modifications to address risks
Contracted Security Services – Secured new contracted services from a global security firm with a specialty in healthcare settings and expanded coverage to 24×7
While staff surveys indicate that this work has improved overall perceptions of safety at work, our efforts here will never be done. As an organization, we are still confronted with situations that present safety risks to our care team. Because of this, Stephens will never stop assessing and responding to care team needs in this area and is committed to ongoing vigilance. We are committed to do everything we can to prevent workplace violence at Stephens.