Annual Report 2020

Healthcare Heroes

As we reflect on 2020, people around the world would do well to remember these words by Nelson Mandela, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” We faced a global pandemic that took the lives of more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans and more than 2.5 million people worldwide and counting. We also faced deadly wildfires and hurricanes, racial unrest, and a country divided by politics. But during this turbulent time, we also saw the very best in people, including those whom we work alongside every day to deliver compassionate healthcare to the people of Maine. We saw our colleagues rise to the challenges of an unprecedented global pandemic, show courage in the face of adversity, and make selfless sacrifices to heal the sick and protect our communities.

These people are heroes. They are the front line workers who provided direct patient care to those who became infected with coronavirus. They are also the people who worked behind the scenes to ensure our staff had the personal protective equipment and telehealth technology they needed to continue to provide care safely. They are the support staff that cleaned and disinfected rooms, prepared meals, and countless other tasks to support our direct care workers.

In this year’s annual report, we celebrate these heroes. They may not have flashy costumes or superpowers like the comic book heroes or those in Hollywood films. But like those heroes, they must don masks as they face a genuine and dangerous enemy. In the pages of this year’s annual report, you will learn more about who they are and what they do. We will take you behind their masks to discover the true identity of the heroes among us.

Tim Dentry

Timothy J. Dentry, MBA
President & CEO

Kathy Corey,
Northern Light Health,
Board Chair

Kathy Corey

Heroes on the Front Lines

When it comes to caring for sick patients, Northern Light Health’s front line staff put themselves at risk to provide exceptional care. We know they are brave and compassionate people, but COVID-19 has shown how far they are willing to go to help others. The following are a few of the many examples of courage and caring that we witnessed during this global pandemic.

Heroes on the Front Lines

Cathy Bean, RN,

Manager of Clinical and Community Health Services,
Northern Light Home Care & Hospice

In late March, Portland saw a spike in the population of homeless people who were getting sick with COVID-19. To help protect the city’s homeless residents, city leaders immediately opened the Portland Expo as an alternative shelter site that would allow them to maintain their shelter capacity while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) social distancing guidelines. But how would they separate the healthy population from those with the virus? Cathy Bean, RN stepped up to help. Donning protective gear, she and her staff went into the shelters daily to screen and test the residents. Northern Light Home Care & Hospice also equipped the city of Portland with a telehealth system so home care nurses could provide follow up appointments. As a result, they were able to help shelter residents with other medical conditions that may have been missed.

Many of these people, due to COVID-19, were in quarantine, and meals brought outside their door with no one able to check on them. Now, we could get in there and take care of these people, and that’s been very rewarding.”

Cathy Bean
Heroes on the Front Lines

Elizabeth Bigler, RN,

Emergency Department,
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital

Elizabeth Bigler, RN thinks the most significant change to her job since COVID-19 is how much more physically exhausting it has become. She must often wear respirators, hoods, and other personal protective equipment, which can get quite hot and stuffy during a shift in the Emergency Department. Her biggest concern is making sure she doesn’t bring this virus into her home. It’s why she enters through a basement door, places her clothing directly into the wash, and showers before interacting with her family. “My daughter who is eight is a sensitive, insightful soul. And she’s had a lot of fears about me getting sick, not being able to see me if I did get sick, or me not coming home. Her daughter wrote her a touching letter one morning, telling her to be safe and that she loved her.

She’s a really strong little girl. I had to tell her that this is a community effort. I can’t not go because it’s scary. Some people still need help, and our job as community members is to help them.”

Elizabeth Bigler
Heroes on the Front Lines

James Jarvis, MD,

Senior Physician Executive, Incident Command,
Northern Light Health

When Northern Light Health knew COVID-19 would arrive in Maine, James Jarvis, MD was chosen to coordinate the system’s response among its member hospitals in addition to coordinating with state and local governments and the other major healthcare systems in Maine. Another unexpected role that Dr. Jarvis fulfilled during the pandemic was to be the primary spokesperson for Northern Light Health for weekly statewide news conferences via Zoom. Several times a week he would convey critical information to members of the media and our communities.

One of the pleasant surprises I’ve had during this time was somebody randomly driving by, lowering their window, and saying, ‘Dr. Jarvis, how are you doing? You always ask how we’re doing through TV, we want to make sure you’re okay.’ I teared up a little because, sure it’s neat to be recognized, but it was that sense of community that Mainers have to say, ‘we need to make sure you’re okay because we appreciate what you’re doing.”

James Jarvis
Heroes on the Front Lines

Caroline Joyce, PAC,

Northern Light Primary Care,
Northern Light CA Dean Hospital

Caroline Joyce loves the outdoors and dreams of retiring in a small rural community where hiking, fishing, and camping abound. She and her husband built their retirement home in Greenville, and she took a job at Northern Light CA Dean Hospital in September of 2019. Little did she realize how good her timing was to move to a rural community before the outbreak of COVID-19. As a primary and acute care provider, she willingly staffed the drive-up screening tent outside CA Dean. She endured wind and rain and snow to screen patients. And, she did all this while her mother, living in a nursing home in another state, was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Luckily, my mom experienced mild symptoms, and while I wanted to see her, she was in an area of Massachusetts that was really hit hard by the coronavirus, and I was here seeing patients. I couldn’t risk exposing them or my family.”

Caroline Joyce
Heroes on the Front Lines

Sue-Anne Hammond, DO,

Medical Director of Primary Care,
Northern Light Mercy Hospital

For Dr. Hammond, COVID-19 became personal very quickly as one of her long-time patients, with whom she’d experienced many ups and downs, was among the first in Maine to die of the deadly coronavirus. “It was a curve ball, and it felt so unfair,” she said. Dr. Hammond was instrumental in setting up the COVID-19 response plan for Northern Light Mercy Hospital, which became a model shared with other Northern Light Health hospitals across the state. The drive-up “swab and go” tent at Mercy’s Fore River campus allowed people to safely and easily get tested for the coronavirus. The plan also included a respiratory tent site in Westbrook to assess whether people with symptoms needed to be admitted to the emergency department or sent home with care instructions. And it included a virtual clinic to keep patients out of hospital and primary care settings through telehealth for follow-up appointments. She worked seven days a week while her children were being schooled at home. She and her husband, also a front line provider, tried to allay their family’s fears and correct misinformation in their communities.

On the hardest days I still love what I do. I don’t feel like I’m a hero; I’m doing what was asked of me and what I chose to do as a doctor. This is a hard time, but I don’t think I want to be anywhere else in the middle of all of this.”

Sue-Anne Hammond
Heroes on the Front Lines

Jodi Kierstead, RN,

Nurse Manager, Specialty ICU,
Northern Light AR Gould Hospital

As a nurse manager, Jodi Kierstead’s world radically changed when COVID-19 showed up in Maine. She went from managing budgets and staff training to suddenly responding to a pandemic. She enjoyed watching her staff pull together. “You’re taking a bunch of people out of their comfort zone and putting them through huge changes and for them to do it with a smile… it was amazing!” And Jodi did her part to help too. As Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland was becoming inundated with patients, they put out a call for additional staff to help. Not only did Jodi travel to Portland and support her colleagues, despite having a 10-month-old baby at home, she and her team assembled a care package for Mercy nurses.

We look out for one another. That’s what nurses do. And, we have a strong expectation that you don’t ask your staff to do anything you would not do yourself.”

Jodi Kierstead
Heroes on the Front Lines

Jenica Achey,CNA,

Northern Light Continuing Care,

Caring for elderly residents at Northern Light Continuing Care, Lakewood is an enormous responsibility that Jenica Achey understands all too well. She works with a vulnerable population, and is living with someone at high risk. Jenica, who rarely leaves her house except for work, canceled out of state travel plans to ensure her family and Lakewood residents are safe. “For me, it’s the gratitude that they all show. You can see it in their faces when you put on their make-up or help them pick out an outfit.” During COVID-19, as residents can only communicate with family through closed windows, by phone, or electronically, she says it’s more important than ever to show comfort and compassion.

They can’t see your smile with a mask over your face, but your eyes smile too. And they can see that. And that helps them.”

Jenica Achey
Heroes on the Front Lines

Shane “Mack” Mcpherson

Psychiatric Technician,
Northern Light Acadia Hospital

Mack Mcpherson says his co-workers are like his extended family, and they pulled together even more during the extraordinary challenges of running a psychiatric hospital during a global pandemic. “We’re in the business of working with people who are in some form of crisis, either medical needs or mental health needs. It’s just what we do naturally.” As a psych tech, Mack considers his job to do what needs to be done to support patients and clinicians. He says the only change for him during COVID-19 is that he’s helping other staff with needs too. He’s cleaning, doing small repairs, getting batteries for a thermometer, whatever is needed. The most challenging part of the pandemic for Mack personally is not having faceto- face interactions with co-workers.

Acadia is known for being able to recognize when somebody on the team is having a rough day or a rough couple of days. And, we are great at surprising them with their favorite candy or coffee, or writing a card.”

Shane McPherson
Heroes on the Front Lines

Cassie Craig

Paramedic, Northern Light Medical Transport

Since the start of the pandemic, when a 911 call comes into Northern Light Medical Transport, the caller is screened to see if the patient has COVID-19 symptoms. That way, Cassie Craig knows if she must suit up in full gear, including respirator masks, goggles, gloves, and gowns. This adds some time to the response, but is an important step to protect her and her co-workers, to stop the spread of the virus, and to make sure she can continue her job. She also makes sure to wash her clothes at the station in order to limit any exposure to family members.

I would come to work in a pandemic as I would come to work on a Tuesday, this is the job that I signed up for. It’s become more difficult lately, but I’m going to come to work anyway. I’m here to do my job.”

Cassie Craig
Heroes on the Front Lines

Brent Watson,

Director of Nursing for Emergency Department / Laboratory Services

As the director of the Emergency Department at Northern Light Mayo Hospital, Brent Watson spent long hours informing people of evolving CDC guidelines in the early stages of the COVID pandemic. He also spent considerable time traveling to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center to study how they were equipped to handle a potential influx of patients. Since Mayo’s emergency staff is relatively small, he cross-trained other Mayo nursing staff to work in the Emergency department.

Personally, I wouldn’t consider myself a hero in any aspect; this is something I signed up for. I am a professional nurse. I love taking care of people; I love taking care of the community in which I live.”

Brent Watson
Heroes on the Front Lines

Matt Grant

Cardiopulmonary Respiratory Therapist,
Northern Light Mayo Hospital

Matt Grant is one of two full-time respiratory therapists at Northern Light Mayo. Understanding that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, he knew his services would be in demand if there were an influx of patients. So, he also spent time training staff to make sure they were ready. Matt says it’s all part of the job, even in a global pandemic.

People have been very appreciative, and I’d be remiss not to acknowledge that, but I don’t consider myself a hero. We haven’t been hit as hard as some hospitals across the country. They are working nonstop overtime and going out and being in the face of this. I would consider myself lucky, but I wouldn’t consider myself a hero by any means.”

Matt Grant
Heroes on the Front Lines

Tiffany Benner

Clinical Supervisor,
Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital

As a supervisor, Tiffany Benner says the most challenging part of the pandemic was when she didn’t have immediate answers for staff. Early on, there were many unknowns—would they have enough personal protective equipment? How long would this last? Would there be staff reassignments? She learned to communicate what she knew when she knew it, which helped alleviate fears. She did have a very well laid out plan at home. Once the pandemic reached her county, she would not leave the house, except for work, and her newlywed husband would do the shopping.

I don’t think of myself as a hero. I didn’t decide to become a nurse because I thought in 2020 there would be a worldwide pandemic, and it would look awesome when I leave work. I do my job because I like to help people. I like to help the community.”

Tiffany Benner
Heroes on the Front Lines

Tammy Violette, RN,

Director, Physician Practices,
Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center

In regular times, Tammy Violette’s job involves supporting clinical services and staff of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Primary Care. But since COVID-19, she has also become an expert in swab and go sites — screening and testing people for COVID-19. Tammy helped coordinate staff at the testing site, which was a partnership with the City of Bangor, EMMC, St. Joseph Hospital, and Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC). “How was traffic going to flow? What type of staff were we going to use? How were the swabs going to get collected? How are they going to be housed? So, there was a lot of logistics in terms of details,” she explains.

Everyone in our community, our eyes have been opened to everyday heroes. Individuals that continue to keep the grocery store stocked so that people can eat during this time. I think that we all have to just remember that we’re in this together, and we should be thankful for the efforts of all.”

Tammy Violette
Heroes on the Front Lines

Lisa Boutwell, PTA,

Physical Therapist Assistant,
Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital

Physical Therapy was a service that completely shut down at the start of the pandemic. Lisa Boutwell, PTA went from seeing patients in outpatient rehabilitation to staffing Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital’s drive-up site to screening and testing patients. As a runner, she took the test bag from providers administering the tests to the hospital or lab. Lisa is one of many healthcare staff members who stepped up to serve the community in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of weather.

One day out in the testing tent, it was very windy, the walls were blowing in. We also had a snowstorm and large snow piles outside of the tent but we made do and our community was safer because of it.”

Lisa Boutwell
Heroes on the Front Lines

Emily Cianchette, MSN, FNP-BC,

Chief of the Medical Staff,
Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital

Emily is a family nurse practitioner who sees patients from infants to geriatrics. When Covid-19 hit, her workflow changed dramatically at Northern Light Primary Care in Pittsfield. Instead of doing in-person visits for several weeks, her practice switched to telehealth visits. She says her patients, especially older ones concerned about leaving home, were grateful they could continue receiving medical care. Another group that was grateful for the staff at SVH was the local police and fire departments, who came through the parking lot in a parade of flashing lights in a show of support and solidarity.

When you think of the word hero, you think of somebody that's very dynamic and can do unbelievable things, right? And I think, for those of us that got into healthcare, we never consider ourselves heroes or thought that we would be looked at as a hero. So, you feel a lot of pride.”

Emily Cianchette
Heroes on the Front Lines

Jennifer Penney, MSN, FNP-C,

Medical Director Walk-in Clinic,
Northern Light Inland Hospital

As a walk-in clinic director, Jennifer sees patients daily and faces potential coronavirus exposure. To make sure to never bring it home to her husband and four boys, Blake 7, Branson 7, Jax 5, and Lucas 2, she takes some extraordinary precautions. "At home, my routine has changed entirely. Going home, my boys would normally run to me and want to give hugs and tell me about their day, but my husband and I found a “secret” way for me to get into the house, shower, and change before coming upstairs. The whole process takes a long time, but I want to be safe," Jennifer says the extra washing routines, the stay at home orders, remote learning, and added stress could be daunting. Still, she always finds hope and inspiration in the people she's caring for and the supportive community where she lives.

One day, I went to the post office to mail a package, and a man I did not know came up to me and said, 'Excuse me are you a nurse?' I said 'Well yes, a nurse practitioner.' and he quickly pushed his debit card in the payment card reader and paid for my package and said I want to thank you for what you're doing. At that moment, I was certainly touched, and teared up. This pandemic humbles you and makes you appreciate things like that.”

Jennifer Penney
Heroes on the Front Lines

Sean Hall, RN,

Critical Care Nurse,
Emergency Department,
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital

Sean says that during Covid-19, they've seen fewer people in the emergency department during his night shifts, but the people who come in have been sicker. He attributes it to people waiting longer to seek medical help due to fears about Covid-19. Sean says the job has changed quite a bit as they must now wear hoods, masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields, making it harder to communicate with patients. But he says it's not only the masks that are limiting. "A lot of what we do is tactile touch. The gloves we use pretty regularly, and it takes away from that one moment. Before you do a procedure, you put a hand on somebody, and they feel that human touch, and that's not there. You take away a lot of that tactile touch that sometimes is very comforting, especially to the older population." Sean's wife is also a nurse, and his 15-year-old son is a junior firefighter, so they are all on the front lines. To deal with stress, one of their favorite activities is hiking.

The only thing it's (COVID-19) affected is the places we go hiking because we try to stay away from as many people as possible. In that respect, it's made us a little bit more creative in where we go. But the silver lining in that cloud is we found places that we haven't been to in years and enjoy hiking now.”

Sean Hall

A Leader to Heroes

A leader who empowers others to act decisively is precisely the type of leader a healthcare system needs during a global pandemic. As the coronavirus began forcing the state of Maine to shut down, Tim Dentry was settling in as president and CEO of Northern Light Health and facing an immediate crisis that would put his experience and leadership skills to the test.

Tim Dentry

Tim Dentry, MBA
President & CEO

“On March 24, I was offered the position. It was announced on March 25, and April 1 is when I began these responsibilities,” Dentry explains. He had already been with Northern Light Health as chief operating officer for three years and was very familiar with the system. Also, he spent several years in Western Africa and the Middle East working to improve healthcare systems for Johns Hopkins University. “During the Ebola outbreak, I was in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The Ministry of Health advised us on a Thursday that this is a big issue, and they want us to be the chosen hospital for Ebola response, and by Sunday, we had our first patient,” recalls Tim.

That experience helped Tim when the first case of COVID-19 appeared in Maine. By the time the state had issued stay-athome orders, Northern Light Health had already enacted its Incident Command team and its supply chain team had already started preparing for a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Information Systems and Operational Excellence teams worked to increase delivery of healthcare services through telehealth. Under Tim’s leadership, Northern Light Health also set up alternative care sites and COVID-19 screening sites.

“I spent a lot of my time doing what I’m doing now, getting out and talking to staff, asking questions, understanding their challenges, dreams, aspirations, and worries. That’s a normal way for me to go about my work. If I am well-informed and connected to those I work with and those I lead, then I will be a better leader.”

Tim traveled to member hospitals across the state to gather insight and perspective. He visited the Intensive Care Unit at Northern Light Mercy Hospital to see staff caring for COVID-19 patients. “It was an emotional moment. So inspiring to me. It gave me strength. When I went to Mercy and AR Gould, I could see the face behind the mask; the eyes behind the mask. I could see fear, and I felt that fear. I could also see determination, and I fed off of that.”

Tim says he adheres to a philosophy called servant leadership, which he learned early in his career while working in Catholic health systems. He says it’s an approach that demands humility, which is why he doesn’t consider himself a hero. But Tim does believe the people he leads are heroes. “Everybody’s a hero who has a part to play in this,” he says. “We have a culture of quality and within that culture of quality is a culture of caring and within the culture of caring is a culture of caring for one another. I want people to know that’s what we’re in the business of doing.”

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Heroes Behind the Scenes

While Northern Light Health employs many direct care providers, there are many more working behind the scenes to support them. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Maine, these people helped keep our front line workers and patients safe during an unprecedented public health crisis. These unsung heroes worked in such areas as supply chain, facilities management, information systems, incident command, and environmental services.

Heroes Behind the Scenes

Kathy Knight, RN,

Director of Emergency Preparedness,
Northern Light Health

Whenever a natural disaster or emergency strikes, Northern Light Health is prepared, thanks in part to Kathy Knight and her team’s work. It is their job to prepare, respond, and recover from emergencies. They hold training throughout the year, and know what to do in an emergency. One priority is activating an incident command structure, which streamlines communications between key decision-makers. For the first time in its history, Northern Light Health had a unified response involving all member organizations. The incident command team had to resolve several issues all at once, including a disruption of the supply chain for personal protective equipment, new work plans based on the latest CDC guidance, and an immediate ramp-up of our information systems to accommodate an increased demand for telehealth services. While there are lessons learned from every emergency, Kathy was pleased with everyone’s work throughout the system.

I look at what we have accomplished from maximizing resources, developing a single coordinated response, delivering transparent, timely, accurate, and standardized communications to all employees, and meeting the challenges of COVID-19 head on by remaining flexible, openminded and imaginative, and I am just amazed!”

Kathy Knight
Heroes Behind the Scenes

Paula Dietrich

Northern Light Acadia Hospital,
Behavioral Health Professional

Under normal circumstances, Paula Dietrich would be assisting teachers at Northern Light Acadia’s Pediatric Day Treatment Program. But, when COVID-19 hit, that program was provided via teleconferencing, and Paula’s services were not needed as much. “I said, put me where you need me, so here is where I am.” The “here” is the main entrance of the hospital. With a sign-in sheet, a list of questions, and a digital thermometer, her job is to screen visitors, patients, and staff. Like everything she does, Paula takes it to the next level. “I’ve decorated the entry with butterflies throughout, and I have a beautiful silk flower arrangement with roses and peonies. I love to play string quartet music. And, I try to be calm and welcoming and let people know that we care,” explains Paula.

I think of what I do as being a part of the team here, and I don’t think I’m any more heroic than anyone else who is here on staff. I’m just doing a little part of what everyone else is doing during the day, and that’s it.”

Paula Dietrich
Heroes Behind the Scenes

David Valcik

Vice President, Information Systems,
Northern Light Health

In mid-February David and the Information Systems (IS) team started testing scenarios if large numbers of employees had to work remotely. They also looked to ramp-up telehealth services. Luckily, they had already started to improve our telehealth and teleconferencing platforms. Northern Light Acadia Hospital had been using Zoom telepsychiatry. Dave and the IS team had to quickly figure out how to expand it to the rest of the system. “Before COVID-19, in January, we did approximately 1,500 to 1,700 telehealth visits. By April, we ramped-up to about 34,000. The technology we put in place allowed us to provide care to our patients who could not come in,” says Dave. It meant a lot of work in a short time to modify these systems. The IS team played a crucial role in allowing front line staff and support staff to continue working safely while providing exceptional care for patients. Dave, who is also a pilot of a single-engine plane, literally went above and beyond his duties and organized a three plane flyover of Northern Light Hospitals last spring to honor our employees.

We do this for a reason, the same as anyone else in the organization—to take care of our patients. The frontline people need our assistance, and we’re proud to offer that.”

David Valcik
Heroes Behind the Scenes

Dani Reardon, CPT, CHWC,

Wellness Coordinator,
Beacon Health

Dani Reardon leads a virtual fitness class for Northern Light Health employees from a bright and welcoming home gym in the finished basement of her home. They try to follow along as she calls out instructions. Music is playing in the background. “We all know that physical activity helps manage stress, depression, and anxiety in addition to keeping your body well, so by offering these noon classes, they can take the class and feel better,” explains Dani.

I love that I’m able to do this; a big part of who I am is helping others. I want people to be well. I’m glad I am able to introduce different types of exercise and hopefully participants find a love for it and continue.”

Dani Reardon
Heroes Behind the Scenes

Carla Leino

Environmental Services,
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital

Whenever a patient with COVID-19 is treated in the Emergency Department at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, they can take comfort in knowing that Carla Leino is on the job. Dressed from head to toe in personal protective equipment, she goes into patient rooms to clean once patients are discharged. She is armed with cleaning chemicals and wipes down every surface as she sanitizes the room from floor to ceiling. “We make sure that the cleaning we’re doing is the best that it can be, not only to protect ourselves but anyone else that will go into the room. When the next patient is coming through the door, that room is ready for them,” says Carla.

I don’t have a special prayer, but I talk to God every day when I leave my house, and I ask him for strength to carry-on and do what I have to do no matter how it makes me feel. I’m doing this for the greater good. I’m doing his work. It gets me through.”

Carla Leino
Heroes Behind the Scenes

Mark Noble

Supply Specialist II, Materials Management Department,
Northern Light Inland Hospital

Whenever you need supplies to do your job, Mark Noble is the man who gets you what you need. “I don’t want anybody to say I don’t have what I need when I need it. Until this point, not one person has had to say that,” he says with pride. Mark is hoping he can continue to keep that record. Still, having personal protective equipment (PPE) in stock has been challenging during a pandemic that caused a global shortage of PPE and disrupted the entire supply chain. Fortunately, Mark and his team could see the warning signs and took proactive measures to increase ordering and find alternative vendors.

We always look out for one another. My whole job is to make sure our patients and employees are safe and they have the equipment they need to stay safe. I take pride in that.”

Mark Noble

COVID-19: A Patient's Story

Baballa Adam knew something was wrong when he couldn’t get out of bed on a Thursday morning in early June. He just lay in bed in the top floor apartment of his home in Portland’s Valley Street neighborhood. His wife, Saida, called for help to get him to the Emergency Department at Northern Light Mercy Hospital. Baballa would spend the next week in the hospital recovering from COVID-19. He says that he never had difficulty breathing but that he was exhausted. “It was very, very scary. I felt like I might not get out of here, like I was going to die,” recalls Baballa.

Baballa Adam

Baballa Adam

Despite regaining his strength and returning home, Baballa did have some lingering effects that required follow-up care. So, Northern Light Home Care & Hospice helped set him up at home with some monitoring equipment to check his temperature and blood pressure. He was also introduced to Laura Webber, post-acute care manager, Northern Light Beacon Health. Laura explains, “When I received the referral, he was in the hospital at Mercy, and I followed him daily to see what was going on. He was discharged to Home Care & Hospice with a couple of visits, and that’s when I jumped in and called him, and we formed a relationship on the phone.” She spent time with him on weekly calls, helping to get him medications, follow-up appointments for blood tests, and doctor’s appointments. “The beginning was ‘hello, how are you,’ and him telling me what happened and how he had coped. And how very thankful and lucky he feels to still be here,” says Laura.

Baballa is one of several patients who left the hospital with COVID-19 that Laura would follow up with. Before COVID-19, she would usually visit with patients at rehabilitation facilities, but these days it’s all through phone calls or video conferencing. “I love being a care manager. At the end of the day, if you can make a difference in one person’s life or you can help another staff member to make the difference, it’s just worth everything, because in this changing world we have to join together to be able to get through it.”

Laura Webber

Laura Webber

And Laura is correct about Baballa. He does have a very positive attitude. He may have lingering side effects from the Coronavirus disease for a very long time, but he is grateful to be home with his wife and feels well enough to return to work at his job at a nearby non-profit organization. He’s thankful to do the things he likes such as reading and taking walks, and is grateful for the care he received from Northern Light Health. “They did everything to make me better. They gave me medication continuously. They gave me food, water, and, I am more than thankful. I don’t take that for granted. They took care of me and I am deeply thankful,” says Baballa.

Heroes in The Community

Maine is a small state where neighbors look out for neighbors, and our communities look out for our healthcare workers. Here are just some of the many heroes in our communities that we celebrate for their unwavering support.

Heroes in the Community

Diane Bartley

DBK Catering, Greenville

Diane Bartley’s catering business suffered when the state enacted stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of COVID-19. Her 90-year-old father could no longer go to his community fitness classes twice a week at Northern Light CA Dean Hospital. When life handed Diane and her dad lemons, they made… soup. She and her dad set up shop in her home and got to work. He’d sit at a table chopping vegetables while she’d be gathering ingredients and making the soup. Then she’d ladle it into containers, bag it up, and meet volunteer delivery drivers outside her home, who would then take it to the hospital. Before long, people learned what she was doing and donated money to help her buy ingredients. And then another friend and local chef, Gary Dethlefsen started making soup too. Before long, they were making soup for more than 170 people, including healthcare workers and people in the community who were in need.

Greenville is a pretty special place. We’ve always cared for our healthcare workers because they are our neighbors, our friends, and family. We are so close. They are amazing people to work in such unknown times and to be willing to jump right in and put themselves in danger.”

Diane Bartley
Heroes in the Community

Eli Wales

Maine School of Science and Mathematics Student,
Mount Desert Island

The electronic beeps and buzzes coming up from Eli Wales’ basement belong to a series of eight 3D printers churning out solutions to keep healthcare workers comfortable and safe as they care for patients during the pandemic. The printers, which are on loan to Eli from several area schools on Mount Desert Island, are running 24/7 to make plastic face shields and plastic ear relief straps for face masks. Before long, Eli and his partners in this project had perfected a design for the ear relief straps and face shields and had produced 1,300 face masks and 3,000 ear relief straps.

I think it’s really rewarding knowing that we can save lives because of what we’re doing, and people are being protected.”

Eli Wales
Heroes in the Community

Tim Crowley

President, Northern Maine Community College,
Presque Isle

Spring 2020 was a challenging time for everyone at Northern Maine Community College. Students who were finishing up their studies had to leave campus; administrators and faculty quickly put a distance learning plan into action. Once they successfully took care of their own, Tim Crowley, president, Northern Maine Community College, looked outward to see how they could help their neighbors at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital. With the dormitories closed, Crowley could offer rooms to any front-line workers at AR Gould who needed to isolate from their families. The college also had hospital beds in its closed simulation lab that it could offer to AR Gould to accommodate a surge of patients. Despite the pandemic, the college graduated nursing students from its program without delay to help meet the growing demand.

We’re a community college; the community is right in the middle of who we are. Without the community, we don’t have the resources here. It’s not just about the appropriation. It’s about community support. We have a lot of that. So, our concern for the community goes right along with our concern for our students.”

Tim Crowley
Heroes in the Community

Jeff Chretien

Fire Chief, Newport

Public safety runs deep in Jeff Chretien’s family. He and his wife are firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Because they live and work in the Newport area, they interact with healthcare workers at Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield. They have a lot of respect for the sacrifice frontline workers are making during this global pandemic, which is why they wanted to take part in an impressive show of appreciation. Firefighters from Newport, Pittsfield, Detroit, Plymouth, Etna, Burnham, and Corinna, and officers from the Pittsfield Police department all took part in a parade of vehicles in front of the hospital in late April.

I think of what I do on the back of an ambulance. It’s roughly a half-hour to get the person to the hospital, followed by a half-hour cleaning the ambulance. After we drop them off, hospital workers are caring for them for days. We do it for a short time, and they’re doing it for the next two weeks. They’re heroes. They’re warriors.”

Jeff Chretien
Heroes in the Community

Summer Allen

Owner, Valentine Footwear,

Customer service from a friendly face that greets you at the door—this is how small business owners like Summer Allen at Valentine Footwear set themselves apart from the big box retailers and online shopping sites. COVID-19 made it challenging to have that face-to-face interaction. For her and her employees’ safety, Summer closed her retail store and went to online shopping and curbside pickup during the height of the pandemic. But as her retail shop in downtown Bangor remained closed, she turned her attention to how she could help healthcare workers. She knew they were on their feet all day and she had plenty of compression socks in her inventory that could provide some relief to those workers. Summer packed up all 92 pairs of compression socks worth about $2,000 and donated them to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.

I’m just so grateful that we have people who have spent their time getting ready for something like this. To know these people are ready and willing to help anyone who needs it strengthens my belief in our community.”

Summer Allen

A New Member

When Mayo Regional Hospital became a member of Northern Light Health on March 1, 2020, president Marie Vienneau had no idea that in just a few short weeks, that merger would be a critical lifeline for the Dover-Foxcroft community. “For the organization’s long-term success, standing alone as a rural healthcare provider was not the best option. COVID-19 made that even more abundantly clear,” she says.

Marie Vienneau

Marie Vienneau, FACHE,
President, Northern Light Mayo Hospital and Northern Light CA Dean Hospital

While Mayo had a long-standing relationship with Northern Light Health, the merger opened vast new resources. Leaders at Mayo were included in daily COVID-19 Incident Command meetings, where they could tap into the expertise of the system’s healthcare professionals from across Maine. In addition, expert subgroups dedicated to clinical and support areas like infection control, facilities management, pharmacy, and others became lifelines.

“Usually, if a Mayo patient needs a ventilator, we get them started and transport them to EMMC,” says Pharmacy director Lindsay Pelletier, PharmD. “As a part of our COVID 19 response plan, Mayo prepared to keep patients on ventilators here in Dover-Foxcroft. Purchasing the medicines that are required for vented patients was not possible through my normal channels. Northern Light Health was able to get those supplies for us.”

Facilities director Mike Kessler had other worries as he considered plans to get Mayo grounds organized for emergency response mode. “Two weeks earlier, I would have been working on plans for our response only with the information I was able to gather on my own. The Thursday after the merger was final, I got a call from Northern Light’s Facility Planning, Design and Construction team, giving me details on the system’s COVID 19 testing plan. Two business days later, I had a tent on-site.” Mike adds that a few days later, his team visited the Bass Park testing site in Bangor and decided to make a few adjustments at Mayo. “I had a second, smaller tent in Dover-Foxcroft later the same day.”

Mike says the system Incident Command provided access to early intelligence in Maine through Northern Light Mercy Hospital’s experience with some of the first cases of COVID-19. “We were getting information about what was working in Portland before we had cases further north.” Mike adds that the benefits go both ways. His expertise in mechanical engineering, heating, cooling, plumbing, and medical gas systems benefits others in the system.

Marie says that the COVID-19 crisis put into “uncomfortably clear focus” the benefits and timing of the merger with Northern Light Health. “The financial prospects for Mayo as an independent hospital were dire. With the added pressure on the hospital of this pandemic response, we would likely have had to close services for good and lay off employees, at the very least. Worst case, it might have been the end for us. Instead, we are vibrant and fulfilling our mission to provide care in our community.”

Mike Kessler

Mike Kessler, Facilities Director,
Northern Light Mayo Hospital

Northern Light Mayo Hospital is feeling a reassurance of strength in numbers. Northern Light Health, for example, committed to not furlough employees, and in some cases offered reassignment for people whose usual job wasn’t in high demand. Likewise, a voluntary furlough was offered to those employees who had a personal need to step away for a while, such as children at home or underlying health conditions.

“I was one of those employees who worried that system integration would take away the wonderful culture and personality of our hospital,” confesses Lindsay, the Pharmacy director. “But we are the same people, with the same commitment to our community. What’s different is our access to the resources of this system and a network of smart and supportive peers!”

“Northern Light Health is managing a statewide plan for addressing this Coronavirus pandemic, including surge planning, supply chain, emergency response policies, staffing, infection control, even communication resources,” observes David McDermott, MD, senior physician executive for Mayo. “And we are at the table, contributing our voice and our ideas. We could not have done this on our own.”

Northern Light Health Foundation


In March, Northern Light Health’s caregivers and staff faced the new challenge of how to continue to provide safe, high-quality care to every patient during a global pandemic. While navigating a quickly changing world, our healthcare team took comfort in knowing that they weren’t in it alone. They were supported by donors from nearly every corner of Maine who provided warm meals and sweet treats when they were needed most, personal protective equipment to keep everyone safe, signs and cards expressing genuine gratitude, and so much more. And all of it was straight from the hearts of those who just wanted to do something to help.

Because of you, we were able to raise $13.2 million to support healthcare workers, patients, and hospitals across the Northern Light Health family. This is a remarkable accomplishment during such a turbulent year.

In 2020, making healthcare work for Maine took on a new meaning, and our journey to success would have been much more difficult without our community’s support. Thank you for partnering with the Northern Light Health Foundation to make a meaningful difference to so many patients and families during a truly unprecedented year. Our hearts can’t help but be filled with hope and gratitude.

To learn more and sign up for events that support care in your community, visit

Giving by Organization

Acadia Hospital $86,499.88
AR Gould Hospital $382,419.57
Blue Hill Hospital $423,373.20
CA Dean Hospital $365,653.89
Eastern Maine Medical Center $4,330,123.95
Home Care & Hospice $609,042.04
Inland Hospital $365,755.43
Maine Coast Hospital $573,089.57
Mayo Hospital $3,855.00
Mercy Hospital $5,787,762.84
Northern Light Health Foundation
Eastern Maine Medical Center
Children’s Miracle Network Hospital
Sebasticook Valley Hospital $76,352.38
Total $13,240,281.86

Community Benefit

Total Community Investment by Category

Community Health Improvement Services $1,562,034
Health Professions Education $2,200,329
Research $1,098,267
Cash and In-Kind Contributions $234,171
Community Building Activities $495,897
Community Benefit Operations $1,654,476
Traditional Charity Care $14,777,400
Unpaid Cost of Public Programs
Medicaid $90,049,060
Medicare $147,950,993
Total Systemwide $260,022,627

Member Community Benefit to our Communities

Acadia Hospital $12,821,666
AR Gould Hospital $19,798,471
Blue Hill Hospital $1,798,623
CA Dean Hospital $371,100
Eastern Maine Medical Center $152,848,962
Home Care & Hospice $582,575
Inland Hospital $11,827,026
Maine Coast Hospital $12,771,047
Mayo Hospital $2,216,040
Mercy Hospital $42,578,647
Northern Light Health $536,546
Sebasticook Valley Hospital $1,871,924


Consolidated Balance Sheets

Years Ended September 30, 2020 and 2019
Assets 2020 2019
Total Current Assets $709,110 $487,570
Assets Limited as to Use
Capital Replacement & Other Designated Uses $370,233 $381,785
Self Insurance Funds & Other Trusts $101,344 $55,993
Donor Restricted Gifts $81,385 $85,195
Total Assets Limited as to Use $552,962 $522,973
Property & Equipment, NET $753,984 $745,950
Other Long-Term Assets $22,528 $22,469
Total Assets $2,038,584 $1,778,962

(In thousands of dollars)

Liabilities 2020 2019
Total Current Liabilities $355,459 $223,099
Accrued Post-Employment Benefits $284,190 $237,979
Long-Term Debt $551,771 $520,645
Other Long-Term Liabilities $139,574 $8,398
Total Liabilities $1,330,994 $990,121
Total NET Assets $707,590 $788,841
Total liabilities & NET Assets $2,038,584 $1,778,962

(In thousands of dollars)

Consolidated Statements of Operation

Years Ended September 30, 2020 and 2019
2020 2019
Net Operating Revenue $1,753,249 $1,744,455
Operating Expenses
Salaries & Employee Benefits $1,066,533 $1,000,110
Supplies & Other $769,339 $712,197
Total Expenses $1,835,872 $1,712,307
(Loss) income from Operations ($82,623) $32,148
Investment Gains & Losses $23,955 $3,200
(Deficiency) excess of Revenue Over Expenses Before Noncontrolling Interest ($58,668) $35,348
Noncontrolling Interest ($41) ($276)
(Deficiency) excess of Revenue Over Expenses ($58,709) $35,072
Operating Margin -4.71% 1.84%
Total Margin -3.30% 2.01%
Reinvestment in Clinical Equipment, Technological Advancements & Facilities $66,598 $59,421

(In thousands of dollars)

Who We Are

Homecare & Hospice Organization
Integrated Physician Organization
Emergency Transport Members
Nursing Homes
Joint Ventures
Primary Care Practices
Licensed Nursing Home/Long-Term Care Beds
Available Acute Care Beds

Our Mission

We improve the health of the people and communities we serve.

Our Vision

Northern Light Health will be a leader in healthcare excellence.

Our Values

To accomplish its mission and vision, Northern Light Health will embrace the values of integrity, respect, compassion, and accountability.

Our Values


We commit to the highest standards of behavior and doing the correct thing for the right reasons.


We respect the dignity, worth, and rights of others.


We deliver care focused on the needs of each person and guide families and individuals through the experience with kindness and professionalism.


We take a responsible and disciplined approach to achieving our priorities and responding to an everchanging environment.

What We Do

Heart Surgeries
Clinic Visits
Inpatient & Outpatient Surgeries
Emergency Department Visits
Telehealth Visits
Home Health & Hospice Visits
Imaging Procedures
Primary Care Visits

Joint Ventures

County Physical Therapy, LLC
LifeFlight of Maine, LLC
New Century Healthcare, LLC
Advanced Collections Services, LLC
MedComm, LLC
Uniship Courier Services, LLC
Penobscot Logistics Solutions, LLC

LifeFlight of Maine

Towns Responded to for Scene Calls 97
Total Scene Calls 215
Fixed Wing Air Transports 309
Traumatic Injury Transports 408
Ground Transports 548
Helicopter Air Transports 1,409

Northern Light Medical Transport

Towns / Townships / Unorganized Territories in Response Area 100
Wheelchair Van Transports 3,678
Patients Transported 18,033