Sunday, July 28, 2013

In Maine, rural E.R. closure raises fears; why is it happening?

The Closure of St. Andrews E.R.: Here in Maine, residents of the Boothbay region are up in arms over the pending closure of their local hospital's emergency department and, with it, the loss of its status as a hospital. After Oct. 1, ambulances will be diverted to another MaineHealth hospital in Damariscotta, 30-40 minutes to the northeast, but that hospital is simultaneously being scaled back.

Why is it happening? I try to unpack the issue in this story in today's Maine Sunday Telegram, with interviews with local residents, former and present board members, hospital officials, and MaineHealth CEO Bill Caron. It's a sobering situation, regardless of which "side's" arguments you find most compelling.

Update on proposed investigation of Maine DEP: For those who read my investigation of what's been going on inside the Maine Department of Environmental Protection under commissioner (and former corporate lobbyist) Patricia Aho, I had an update late last week. Formal discussions on whether to launch an legislative investigation of Aho's activities have been postponed at the request of the lawmaker who proposed it. Details herein.

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