Commentary

Bridgton Hospital a community asset we must protect

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The Bridgton Hospital crisis is typical of progressive constructs.  First, the Board buys into the progressive canard that computers and MBA’s (if educated at the right schools) can devise systems that will automatically make individual decision making obsolete, employees interchangeable and disposable. The lowest common denominator at the lowest cost.  Good systems and good administration will make up for mediocre skills.  Net result lower costs.

When a progressive administrator is brought in to make the system better, s/he brings in their team to clean out the old administration.  Little or no thought is given to determining who in the old administration did a good job and who were creating problems.  The new well-paid team then proceeds to cut costs by using systems instead of individual initiative to achieve their cost-saving goals.

This approach may appear to work at first, but the gutting of the human element will quickly turn the cost savings into an economic disaster.  Before the disaster descends on the enterprise, the progressive administrator moves on to greener pastures, leaving the looming disaster in his/her rearview mirror.  Of course, his or her resume will only show the initial illusion of success.

There is a problem with these green shade number crunchers. Staffs are made up of humans not ciphers, and are not equal in their abilities, drive, intelligence and devotion to their work.  Progressive administrators tend to take a one size fits all approach to staffers.  The concept of interchangeability at the staff level and the belief that elite administrators can mold the staff to their systems leads to ever increasing administrative costs and ever decreasing quality and productivity.  The more formulaic the program, the bigger the debacle.

Boards of Directors need to remember that the not for profit institutions in our communities require community involvement and satisfaction.  The Hospitals of the CMMC group are a confederation of community institutions in sync with their surroundings and provide immeasurable benefits to their communities.

The community hospitals of CMMC are not, however, interchangeable parts of the larger administrative mélange.  In this case, the parts are much greater than the whole.

Bridgton Hospital is a prime example of excellence in community medical care:

  • Top Rural Hospital (Leapfrog Group). Bridgton Hospital is one of only 21 Hospitals to achieve this award in the Nation.
  • Top 20 Hospital in Overall Performance (iVantage).  Selected by National Rural Hospital Association.  Selected from 1,400 small and rural hospitals across the country.
  • Top 20 Hospital in Quality Outcomes (iVantage).  Selected by National Rural Hospital Association.  Selected from 1,400 small and rural hospitals across the country.
  • Top Performance in all areas (Maine Health Access Foundation).  Only hospital in Maine to achieve top performance in all areas rated: overall, quality outcomes, service scores, financial results.
  • Top 50 Critical Access CEOS to Know in 2016 (Becker’s Hospital Review).  Bridgton CEO David Frum – recognized for leadership and commitment to excellence.

CMHC has brought in outside experts to revamp and standardize all of the hospitals in its system.  The progressive administration is willing to undermine Bridgton’s excellence in favor of cost control systems that dehumanize medical care.

The Board needs to go back to the hard work of analyzing staff based on ability, performance, productivity and ability to be a team player.  Let the true professionals in medicine run the hospitals; not the outside administrators and their crushing systems.  Don’t make all our hospitals the same.  Revel in their individuality and recognize what they do so well.  Take care of the patients and they will take care of the bottom line.

About John MacGregor

John "Jock" MacGregor is a student of history and politics, a pursuit he has enjoyed for most of his 77 years. Jock attended Villanova University’s School of Education; served in the U.S. Marine Corps; and is an entrepreneur with enterprises in restaurants, construction and boatbuilding. Mr. MacGregor was managing editor of an online news site in Hot Springs Arkansas. Currently, Jock comments on the role of government in society. Jock believes in a constitutionally limited government, instituted by the people, to protect their rights to life, liberty and property.

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