State Files for Receivership of Down East Community Hospital 

The state has filed a petition for receivership at Down East Community Hospital in Machias, and a judge could appoint a person or an organization to take over operations as soon as Wednesday.This comes one day after the hospital placed the C.E.O. Wayne Dodwell, on administrative leave, and appointed Craig Jessiolowski as interim C.E.O.These moves are a good sign to a local group that has been critical of the hospital management over the past few years.Dr. Jim Whalen, worked as an orthopedic surgeon at Downeast Community Hospital for 30 years, but resigned on May first.”The final straw for me was the fact that i didn’t feel that my patients were safe in the hospital.”Dr. Whalen says he witnessed medical practices that were not safe, alleging that the hospital was placing profits ahead of patient safety.”I saw practices amongst the professional staff that were not acceptable and when attention was called to those practices, those practices were defended. Like what? For example, anesthesia, not doing proper interviews before surgery.”When he left, he says he was offered $50,000 by the administration at the hospital to sign a non-disclosure statement, and to not discuss any of what he saw at the hospital. He refused.”This was almost like a disease taking over there, and that’s a scarey thought.”He’s been part of a local group called Save Our Hospitals. They’ve been strong critics of the hospital leadership over the past few years.They have files of paperwork from federal officials that call for changes of practices at the hospital and have been following the investigations of the hospital closely.Down East is currently operating on a conditional licence.They were pleased to learn that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified the hospital that the hospital would no longer be able to accept Medicare reimbursements as of July 10, and now the latest news of the state takeover.I’m delighted to see these turn of events. We had been hoping and praying for medicare and the state to take charge, and they finally put their foot down.Julie Hixson, spokesperson for Down East Community Hospital says she has no comment about the allegations made by Dr. Whalen and the Save our Hospitals Group.She does say that the hospital is cooperating fully with the state in the receivership process, and they hope by a judge appointing someone to take over operations they will be able to continue receiving medicare reimbursements, and be able to continue full operations.