Mayo Regional Hospital to mark 40th anniversary of opening in April

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — What today is a 25-bed critical access hospital and health system with five rural health clinics across the region, provides emergency medical services for all of Piscataquis County, psychiatry and counseling services as well as various surgical specialties, in April Mayo Regional Hospital will mark 40 years since first opening its doors to patients.

“We are going to do a community event on April 9,” Mayo Regional Hospital CEO Marie Vienneau — who will reach exactly four years in the position on Feb. 4 — said. “April 9 is the first day we saw patients in the new hospital.”

She said the community event, which may be an open house, is still in the planning stages for April 9, “It is a Monday, we are going to do it on the actual day.” Vienneau said one idea being pursued is locating the first baby born at Mayo Regional Hospital in April of 1978, and seeing if that now near 40-year-old can be at the anniversary celebration on their milestone birthday.

According to hospital history, Mayo Regional Hospital is named for and owes its existence to Col. Edward J. Mayo. The hospital began with Col. Mayo’s gift of his home and $10,000. The facility was literally built on a foundation of giving and a love for the communities and peoples of the region.

Born in 1864 in Foxcroft, Col. Mayo was a businessman and philanthropist whose family owned and operated the Mayo & Son Woolen Mill — now the site of The Mill downtown complex — for three generations.

Upon his death in 1935, Col. Mayo willed his West Main Street home for use as a hospital. He bequeathed $10,000 for free beds and free surgical and medical treatment for needy patients in town and also designated a fourth of his estate for the support and maintenance of the hospital. The town of Dover-Foxcroft accepted the gift and established Mayo Memorial Hospital on the site of the Mayo family homestead, converting the home (now known as the old Mayo building) to a hospital in 1936. That year his widow Gertrude left another $10,000 to the hospital in her will.

In 1949, a maternity wing, later used as the business office, was added to Mayo Memorial Hospital after a $30,000 fundraising campaign led by the Miosac Club of Dover-Foxcroft and the Junior Women’s Club of Guilford. The Miosac women also spearheaded the drive to add an elevator, installed in 1956.

Discussions on consolidating hospitals in Dover-Foxcroft, Dexter and Milo into a regional center gained momentum in 1972. Two years later, voters in 13 area towns formed Hospital Administrative District (HAD) 4. A site committee chose next door to Mayo Memorial Hospital to build the new hospital.

Ground was broken for construction of a 52-bed acute care facility in 1976. The $5.1 million Mayo Regional Hospital opened to patients on April 9, 1978, with a staff of 110.

In 1982 the state authorized HAD 4 to purchase Plummer Hospital in Dexter. Dexter joined Abbot, Atkinson, Bradford, Cambridge, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Monson, Parkman, Sangerville, Sebec and Willimantic as district members.

A $1.3 million medical office building was constructed in 1989 on the east side of the old Mayo building.

In 2000 the hospital constructed a new ambulance garage for its emergency medical service on Dwelley Avenue and received state approval to begin a major expansion/renovation project on the main hospital building. That $8 million project broke ground in 2001 and two years later resulted in construction of a new emergency department, an expanded ambulatory services wing and a Mayo Resource Center addition with space for physical therapy, occupational health, business offices, medical records and conference space. The expansion project also completed renovations of first-floor outpatient service areas and the second-floor obstetrics department.

Since 1995 Mayo Regional Hospital has operated a physician practice management department, now known as Mayo Practice Associates, which oversees primary care offices in Corinth, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford and Milo. Today the hospital is the largest healthcare and employer in the region.

“I think what has changed the most in 40 years is growth,” Vienneau said. She said the staff of 110 in 1978 has more than tripled four decades later to approximately 390 full-time employees and 500 overall.

The CEO said in the late 1970s “most physicians had standing practices they built themselves, they were not members of an employee team.” Vienneau said today doctors work in the five primary care offices to provide care for the communities across the region.

Another change in Mayo Regional Hospital’s decades of operation is the use of non-physician providers such as as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. “They are really relied upon in rural areas,” Vienneau said. “We use them broadly to really support care of patients in the area.”

Vienneau said electronic medical records “could not even be thought of in 1978, and within 12 months all of our practitioners will be electronic.”

She explained Mayo Regional Hospital officials are in the process of implementing a single database of medical records through the Cerner company, so each patient will have one record. “Every provider has notes, it a very streamlined process so all patient information is together,” which is intended for patients not to be asked the same question on multiple occasions and the records will include safety information such as allergy details.

Mayo Regional Hospital has been partnering with C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville and Sebasticook Valley Health of Pittsfield and Vienneau said in the past year Mayo Regional Hospital has further expanded its relationship with the Eastern Maine Health System (EMHS). She said talks are underway to look at becoming a full EMHS member, which could bring many benefits to Mayo Regional Hospital.

Community presentations will be conducted to help educate the public on joining EMHS. “To start that process we are working a lot closer with C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital on clinical services for the region,” Vienneau said.

The CEO said the hospital is also working with Cancer Care of Maine to expand services. “We believe more patients will receive care here,” Vienneau said, mentioning the Tracy Hibbard Kasprzak Cancer Treatment Center which opened at Mayo Regional Hospital last year.

This fall a pilot nursing program through Eastern Maine Community College will be offered at the Penquis Higher Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft and Vienneau said Mayo Regional Hospital will provide the educators and clinic experiences.

“It will train eight nurses, hopefully to be employed in the region,” Vienneau said. She said program participants will not have to have to travel to Bangor or beyond for their education and the program is designed help meet a shortage of nurses in the area.

“It is exciting, we are really excited to celebrate the 40 years,” Vienneau said. “We are going to let the community see what is is we do for the region. We want people to know we are here.”

Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft

Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
FORTY YEARS FOR MAYO REGIONAL HOSPITAL — In April Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft will mark 40 years since first opening its doors to patients. Hospital officials are planning a community event on the official 40th anniversary for Monday, April 9. In four decades Mayo Regional Hospital has grown to become a 25-bed critical access hospital and health system with five rural health clinics across the region, provides emergency medical services for all of Piscataquis County, psychiatry and counseling services as well as various surgical specialties,

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