MDI Hospital has been named the Outstanding Rural Health Organization of the Year by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). The award, presented on Wednesday, May 16th at the NRHA’s Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, recognizes organizations that improve access to health care for people living in rural areas.
“We’re very proud to receive this prestigious award,” said MDI Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer, Art Blank. “This award acknowledges MDI Hospital’s longstanding commitment to innovation and quality, and our comprehensive approach to improving access to health care.”
One of the more significant challenges to providing care in the MDI region, explained Mr. Blank, is the geography. “The MDI region includes islands and hamlets that are separated by large sections of Acadia National Park,” said Mr. Blank.
Overcoming these challenges, explained Blank, often involves collaboration. “We work with the Maine Seacoast Mission to deliver care to our neighbors living on the outer islands using telemedicine two-way communications system,” stated Mr. Blank.
The Hospital has also expanded access to health care through a collaborative grant-funded program called Community Cares. “Community Cares involves several regional organizations working together to improve access to health care for uninsured or underinsured residents of the island and outer islands,” explained Blank.
A major component of the Community Cares program is care management, in which a nurse works closely with patients to help them manage their own health problems. The hospital also has a care management program, which Blank credits with helping reduce the incidence and severity of chronic disease. “One of our big challenges is education, and our care managers work closely with patients to help them understand and deal with the complexity of their disease.”
Blank also attributes the award to the hospital’s ability to provide state-of-the-art services, which are on par with some larger, more urban hospitals. “We have been fortunate, because of the generosity of our community, to be able to provide the latest technology. But we also work hard to balance the needs of our community with the available resources. Because of our close relationship with our community, we understand where our services should begin and end.”
Blank expressed pride in the fact that MDI Hospital was selected in a competitive process by a group of peers from around the country. But Blank added that the real joy of accepting the award came from its acknowledgement of the people working at MDI Hospital. “I was incredibly proud to collect this award on behalf of our staff. This award is all about the people working here. It’s a wonderful group of people who are so dedicated to their community.”