BAR HARBOR — With a keynote speech by noted distance runner and Parkinson’s disease patient Michael Westphal of Great Cranberry Island, the annual meeting of the Mount Desert Island Hospital organization Monday celebrated the ties that inspire and connect the island community.
The health care landscape is always changing, said Art Blank, hospital president and CEO, “but we’re actually excited about what these changes mean for us.”
The hospital organization has opened a new community dental clinic in Southwest Harbor, expanded evening hours at several of its clinics and invested in improved information technology, he said.
“We continue to adapt and expand to a new role – that of a steward of our population’s health,” said Chief Financial Officer Chrissy Maguire-Harding. Alongside the shift in focus from “volume to value,” she said, is a commitment to “reducing or maintaining the cost of care.”
The hospital ended its fiscal year 2016 in the black, she said, with a gain of about $288,000 in net assets. The hospital billed for more than $79 million in services, although that did not translate equally to revenue due to differing reimbursement rates. The hospital provided $4.7 million in free and uncompensated care. Giving to the annual fundraising campaign was up significantly; more than $1 million was raised in FY 2016 compared with $488,000 the year before.
A documentary by Peter Logue, “Outrunning Parkinson’s,” was screened at the meeting. It chronicles Westphal’s decision to go back to running, a passion from earlier in life, and train for marathons again.
In his remarks after the screening, Westphal said he had been inspired by Michael J. Fox and by his friend Gary Allen, who ran from MDI to Washington, D.C., a few years ago to raise money for a favorite cause.
“I figured if Gary could do these long runs, the least I could do was get off the couch and run to the end of the road,” Westphal said.
He collapsed a few yards short of the finish line in his first “Great Run” marathon on Great Cranberry Island, a moment captured in Logue’s film.
He said the support of this community was what helped him get up and cross the line. “I felt as if everybody there willed me off the pavement and across the line.”
Westphal has raised more than $36,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. “I don’t want my granddaughter to have to worry about ever facing this disease,” he said.
Phlebotomist Candace Kerley was named the hospital’s Employee of the Year. “She is an expert in an ever-changing field and loves learning and teaching others,” laboratory director David DeHaas said in presenting the award. MDI Hospital Auxiliary President Shirley Conklin was named Volunteer of the Year at a Volunteer Celebration in July.
Stewart Brecher, Elsie Flemings, Vince Messer, Bev Paigen and Dean Read were reelected to the board of trustees. New board members Larry Legutko and William Rudolph were elected. A slate of 30 “incorporators” – a group of community members who agree to support the hospital by volunteering, contributing money and acting as community ambassadors – also was approved.