Service Consolidation Preserves Patient Care and Jobs at EMMC

10/02/2009

As Eastern Maine Medical Center continues to seek out ways to respond to pressures from our community to reduce the cost of healthcare services, we are making some changes that will both lower expenses and preserve the highest level of quality for our pediatric oncology and gastroenterology patients.

Beginning Monday, October 5, clinic nursing functions previously located in the Outpatient Pediatric Clinic, including infusion of chemotherapy, hydration, and blood products, will be done on Grant Level 8. The children will be cared for in a dedicated area of Level 8, set up specifically for them. The treatments will continue to be delivered by highly skilled, registered, pediatric nurses who care for many of these patients and their families already during their inpatient stays. The rest of these patients’ outpatient care will continue to be provided in the outpatient clinic.

Change, particularly when it involves the medical care of a sick child, can be very unsettling. No one knows this better than the pediatric nurses on EMMC’s Inpatient Pediatrics Unit. We’re confident that these young patients and their families will quickly become comfortable receiving their infusion treatments from their nurses on Level 8.
This does not represent a reduction in service, but rather an opportunity to consolidate, while preserving both the high quality service to patients and the jobs of the employees involved. As we continue with ongoing cost reduction efforts, these two priorities—preserving patient services and employment as best we can—will guide our decision making. 

Some parents have expressed concern about increased risk of infection on the Inpatient Unit for their children. The medical center and the nurses and physicians who care for these patients are assuring families the risk is no greater. The same infection control practices are in place in both areas. Precautions for children with compromised immune systems are in use all the time on Inpatient Pediatrics and during their short stay on the unit, these patients will be separated from the rest of the patient population.

In making any decision, patient safety and clinical quality are our first concern. It is a privilege to have the trust of the communities we serve to make decisions about their care. That trust is something that we prize highly and know we must continue to earn.  We see it as EMMC’s responsibility to make changes to services that maintain our high quality standards and save our patients’ healthcare dollars. EMMC belongs to the community; the care, the cost, and the savings we may realize all belong to you as well.