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September 14, 2017

Outcry Downeast over Calais hospital’s plan to close OB unit

A standing-room-only crowd appeared at a forum to discuss Calais Regional Hospital's decision to close its obstetrics unit and about management of the hospital by a for‑profit business.

The Quoddy Tides reported that attendees raised concerns about the financial state of both CRH and Quorum Health, which manages the hospital. Quorum is based in Brentwood, Tenn.

"The sentiments of those who came to this meeting were clear: They want Quorum out of their hospital, and they want a hospital board of directors that operates transparently and with accountability to the people of Calais and northeastern Washington County," Todd Ricker, labor representative for the Maine State Nurses Association, told the newspaper.

The Quoddy Tides reported that the hospital's board of directors did not attend the meeting, which was organized by the Maine State Nurses Association and the Coalition for Healthy Washington County Families.

"I think that was very frustrating to those who came with questions about what is happening to their hospital and why," Ricker said.

Calais Regional Hospital Vice President of Community Relations Dee Dee Travis told the newspaper by written statement that the board "is committed to focusing the hospital's resources on the services most needed and utilized by our patients to ensure our ability to operate into the future."

Earlier this year, Calais Regional Hospital cited heavy losses due to a decline in baby deliveries since 2007 as reasons for closing its obstetrics department. The Bangor Daily News reported that the closure leaves Washington County with only one hospital, in Machias, with a full-service obstetrics department.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, Calais Regional Hospital reported a loss of $1.3 million.

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