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Posted July 18, 2011, at 6:34 p.m.
Last modified July 19, 2011, at 4:36 p.m.

St. Joseph CEO

BANGOR — Covenant Health Systems and the board of directors of St. Joseph Healthcare-Hospital have announced the selection of Mary Prybylo as president and chief executive officer for St. Joseph Healthcare-Hospital. Prybylo begin responsibilities as president-CEO in early September.

Prybylo was selected after a nationwide search. The process included Covenant Health Systems and St. Joseph Healthcare board members, physicians, staff members and the Hospital Senior Leadership team. The search involved several months, plus many hours in the interview and selection process.

“Ms. Prybylo’s extensive health care experience in both administration and patient care services makes her the ideal person to lead St. Joseph Healthcare. Her leadership will provide new vitality and a fresh vision for the organization while honoring the legacy and the path forged by Sister Mary Norberta,” said Edwin Clift, board chairman.

Prybylo comes to St. Joseph Healthcare from Waterbury Hospital Health Center, where she was chief operating officer for operations, physician partnerships and strategic initiatives.

She also had been director of community care management and vice president of managed care and operations for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut, and vice president for patient care services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn.

Prybylo earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She earned a master’s degree in nursing, with majors in critical care nursing and management, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“On behalf of the board of Covenant Health Systems, I want to express our gratitude to Sister Norberta for her tireless and unwavering commitment to the patients and staff of St. Joseph Hospital and to the Greater Bangor community for more than 29 years,” said David R. Lincoln, Covenant president-CEO. “Sister Norberta’s contributions to the Catholic health care ministry are immeasurable, as evidenced by the incredible legacy she leaves behind as well as the many awards, both national and local, that she has received.”

“My time leading St. Joseph Healthcare has been nothing short of fantastic,” said Sister Mary Norberta. “I have had the privilege of helping this organization grow and change to meet the needs of our communities. And through all of this, I have had the honor to work alongside the very best physicians, nurses, clinical staff and support staff members. It is my pleasure to be the first to welcome Ms. Prybylo to the organization, and I know she will find the St. Joseph community to be warm and welcoming to her.”

St. Joseph Healthcare, a non-profit Catholic health care organization, has been a member of Covenant Health Systems since 2010. St. Joseph Hospital, a 112-bed acute care community hospital, operates under St. Joseph Healthcare. The organization is accredited by the Joint Commission and licensed by the Maine Department of Human Services. St. Joseph Healthcare has an operating budget of more than $80 million and employs more than 900 people in more than 30 departments. There are more than 250 physicians on the medical staff, and the organization operates 10 thriving physician practices.

St. Joseph Healthcare has been recognized several prominent national groups as a leader in health care quality and providing exceptional service with nationally recognized patient satisfaction results.

Covenant Health Systems is a non-profit Catholic health care system sponsoring hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living residences and other health and elder care services in New England. In Maine, Covenant Health sponsors St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston and St. Andre Health Care Facility in Biddeford.

School-based health care

BREWER — U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud praised the joint announcement by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding investments in school-based health center programs.

Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor will receive $234,862 for a project in Brewer, Community Clinical Services in Lewiston $337,684, the city of Calais $109,359, and Readfield will receive $34,563.

Provided by the Affordable Care Act, the awards will help clinics expand, improve equipment and provide more health care services at schools.

Penobscot Community Health Care will use $234,862 to purchase medical and dental equipment for three school-based health centers: a newly constructed Brewer Community School for kindergarten through grade eight, Brewer High School and an additional location serving students with special needs.

The grant provides funding for equipment to provide high quality, comprehensive, medical, dental and mental health services. It will equip exam rooms, mental health offices, waiting rooms and a full dental operatory in one location, with portable dental equipment in the others.

This will allow a nurse practitioner, mental health counselor and dental professionals to provide treatment to students at all three locations, and increase the number of students and families receiving care. The goal of PCHC at the school-based health centers is to ensure that all health care services are available to any student, at the request of the parent-guardian, without regard to a family’s ability to pay.

Grants for nursing

BANGOR — Husson University and Penobscot Community Health Care have been awarded grants by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Husson’s College of Health and Education has been awarded $251,000 toward its graduate Nursing Education Program. The funds will be awarded each year for three years, providing financial support for implementing two advanced nursing education programs.

“This award is significant because it allows the development of innovative MSN and post-MSN programs which will help meet Maine’s impending nursing shortage,” said Provost Lynne Coy-Ogan. “It will prepare nurse educators who are competent in emerging technologies and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

The new programs will work to meet priorities established in Healthy People 2020 and Healthy Maine 2010. Efforts are intended to improve quality health care by removing barriers to access.

Up to eight nurse educators will begin in September. Subsequent recruiting efforts are intended to expand that number to 12 students a year.

“The project is expected to have profound and significant effects of increasing the nursing work force through expanded access to qualified nursing educators, ultimately improving health outcomes of rural Maine residents,” said President Robert A. Clark.

Penobscot Community Health Care also will receive a $250,000 grant to establish a nurse practitioner residency program in conjunction with Husson University. The program will provide residents with clinical experience beyond what can be obtained in a two-year university nurse practitioner program.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud praised the announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The new residency program will provide residents with clinical experience in treating patients who receive long-term care, patients with acute care issues, and patients in specialty clinics. In addition to its commitment to these new initiatives, Husson will expand distance education for its new nursing education courses, ensuring that 25 percent of the students come from rural and underserved areas of Maine.

Award for CancerCare

BREWER — Eastern Maine Medical Center’s CancerCare of Maine at the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer has long been a leader in medical research. Now it is being recognized by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B as an “at-large research site” based on its clinical trial participation rates and the quality of research conducted.

A national research group sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, CALGB brings together clinical oncologists and laboratory investigators from more than 200 cancer centers throughout the country to develop better treatments for cancer.

CancerCare of Maine has been an affiliate member of CALGB through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. For more than 35 years, CancerCare of Maine has developed a strong clinical trial program, with more than 1,000 patient participants.

To date, CancerCare of Maine’s research program has the highest number of patients participating in clinical research studies of any community cancer center taking part as an affiliate of CALGB. Now, as an at-large research site, CancerCare of Maine can continue to be a national leader in cancer research.

Benefit concert

BANGOR — The Stone Doctors, a group of local health care professionals, together with Juicebox, Mudseason, Riverbottom Funk and Oversoul, will present a concert 1 p.m.-closing Saturday, Aug. 6, at My Fork Restaurant & Lounge on Odlin Road.

The concert will benefit Eastern Maine Medical Center Charities Kids Cancer Project and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Tickets are $10 in advance, $20 at the door. Tickets are available at My Fork. For more information, contact Harold Brownell at 942-3811.

St. Joseph’s in HIE

BANGOR — St. Joseph Healthcare is the most recent Bangor area health facility to connect to Maine’s Health Information Exchange, operated by HealthInfoNet. The secure system links information from separate health care sites to create a single electronic patient health record which is easily accessible to doctors and nurses caring for patients. Having access to the system provides caregivers with the information they need to make the best decisions possible on behalf of their patients.

Last year, Bangor was chosen as one of only 17 communities nationwide as a Beacon Communities program and awarded $12.7 million from a federal stimulus program. The goal of the grant is to facilitate connections among local health care sites to improve patient care coordination, safety and lower health care costs. To support expanded community connectivity, all Beacon participants will be connected through the HIE.

Fifteen health care organizations statewide already are connected to HIN, including Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and Eastern Maine Medical Center. With the addition of St. Joseph Healthcare, providers from both hospitals can easily share important patient health information such as drug allergies, prescriptions, diagnoses, and lab and test results to help them better care for patients. This is especially important to the many patients who receive care from both health care organizations.

“This information can be vital in the case of an emergency,” said Dr. Charles Pattavina, St. Joseph Hospital emergency department chief. “Having access to the patient’s medical history helps us make faster, better decisions and limit repeat testing and procedures.”

The goal is for health care providers throughout Maine to be connected to HealthInfoNet, with all of Maine’s hospitals connected by 2014. Plans are in place for other Bangor Beacon Community partners, including Penobscot Community Health Care and The Acadia Hospital, to join in the near future.

Patients may choose not to participate in the statewide information exchange by opting out. Opt-out forms are available at all sites participating with the HIE, as well as online at http://www.hinfonet.org. If a patient opts out of HealthInfoNet, his or her medical information will be removed from the system and inaccessible to caregivers at multiple health care sites.

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