BAR HARBOR — Picking up the theme of “everyday heroes,” as nurses and other frontline workers have been labeled this year during the pandemic, the leaders of Mount Desert Island Hospital honored the organization’s 525 employees last Thursday at its annual meeting.
The challenges of the pandemic, hospital President and CEO Art Blank said, have “reaffirmed everything I cherish” about the hospital team who “embody the values of compassion, community, improvement, integrity, respect and teamwork.”
In addition to their normal jobs, hospital employees have run COVID-19 screening pavilions on and off the hospital campus, assisted businesses and schools with cleaning and safety protocols and worked all hours on communication. One of the lynchpins of the hospital’s response to the crisis, Infection Preventionist Barbara MacPike, was honored as employee of the year. Jenny Michaud is employee of the year at Birch Bay Retirement Village.
The hospital has held more than 100 annual meetings in its history, at which the accomplishments of the last year are celebrated, awards are bestowed and trustees are elected. In recent years, it has always been held in the ballroom at the Bar Harbor Club, a grand celebration preceded by cocktails and oysters.
This year was different in a number of ways. First, it was held over Zoom. When Blank, who will retire at the end of the year, “presented” a plaque to outgoing board chairman Jim Bright by holding it up to the camera on his computer, he said, “This is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done.” Patricia Hand, a year-round resident, cancer researcher and former vice president at MDI Biological Laboratory, is succeeding Bright as chairman of the board.
Chrissi Maguire, the chief operating officer who will succeed Blank as president and CEO in 2020, said that despite the precipitous drop in service revenue during the shutdown in the spring, the hospital posted a positive operating margin for the fiscal year that ended April 30. The hospital and health centers provided $6.4 million in free and uncompensated care in that fiscal year. The organization’s net assets are up $2.7 million, which will help ensure it can stay independent into the future, she reported. Donations from the community of “face coverings, gift cards, meals, supplies and monetary support” in the last months were also appreciated, Maguire said.
The hospital’s strategic partnerships, such as the Downeast COVID-19 Task Force, have been hailed as a model throughout the state and beyond. The task force welcomes input from the community, added Elsie Flemings, executive director of Healthy Acadia, leader of the task force and hospital trustee. “We’re always open to tackle the next important thing, and all of them at once as needed,” she said.
The virtual format for the meeting also required voting for incorporators, a community group who serve as ambassadors for the hospital and electors for the Board of Trustees, and trustees using the chat function on the Zoom call.
The incorporators are Alf Anderson, David Edson, Susan Edson, Chris Field, Kathleen Field, David Hales, Ben Harper, Nancy Harris, Allan Kleinman, Joan Kleinman, Cathleen Lutz, Charlie Lyons, Marsha Lyons, Barbara MacLeod, Linda Musson, Jon Nicholson, Terry O’Connell, Eleanor Raynes, Kenneth Salvatore, Nina St. Germain, Tom St. Germain, Jerry Selig, Patti Selig, Chad Smith, Marion Smith, Micki Sumpter, Helene Tuchman and Maurice Tuchman.
Trustees Dr. Edward Benz, Madeline Braun, Sarah Fina and Bright were re-elected to another term.