CMMC unveils new emergency department

LEWISTON — Some people were wowed by Central Maine Medical Center's 22 new, private treatment rooms and trauma beds, some by the super-sized waiting area with its bubbly, color-changing water feature, granite and calming earth tones. 

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Mae Audibert, a medic at Central Maine Medical Center, looks over the equipment in the trauma treatment room of the new Emergency Department during an open house Wednesday.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Above is a view of the nurses' station in the new Emergency Department at Central Maine Medical Center during an open house Wednesday.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

The new entrance to the Emergency Department at Central Maine Medical Center features a canopy with skylights and a circular glass face. CMMC held an open house for Phase I of its new Emergency Department on Wednesday.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Sharron Sieleman, a nurse at Central Maine Medical Center, looks over one of the brochures in the lobby of the Emergency Department during an open house Wednesday.

Still others marveled at the state-of-the-art equipment, from treatment beds that weigh patients to computers that enable doctors and nurses to instantly access electronic medical records from every treatment room.       

"It's just everything you could want to take care of patients this century," said veteran nurse Crystal Guerrette. "I shiver when I think of how wonderful it is."

In an afternoon open house Wednesday, CMMC formally unveiled its new Emergency Department, the core of a three phase, $45 million construction project. As part of Phase I, the hospital expanded its lab, moved its emergency entrances and created a new Emergency Department with all-private treatment rooms.

Beginning Monday morning, all CMMC emergency patients will go to the new department. The ambulance entrance will shift to the Main Street side of the hospital. The public will enter behind 12 High St., where the emergency entrance was located several years ago. Signs will direct people where to go. 

On Wednesday, community members got their first look at the new department. Tour guides led dozens of people through the three private triage rooms, four-bed trauma area and single-bed treatment rooms equipped with computers for medical personnel and TVs for patients to distract themselves while they wait for a doctor or for tests. 

"It gives people the ability to rest and relax and focus on what they want to focus on," Peggy McRae, Emergency Department nurse manager, said.

They also toured the large nurses' station, the separate hallways for medical personnel and patients' families, and the waiting area, which can seat 70. The old waiting area had seating for fewer than 20 and patients often lined the hallway.  

"Here, right here, this is just awesome," said CMMC volunteer Hartley Fogg, throwing his arms open wide as if to embrace the waiting area.

CMMC's former Emergency Department was built in the early 1990s to accommodate about 25,000 patients per year. Recently, it has seen more than 50,000 a year.

Peter Chalke, CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, CMMC's parent organization, told the crowd that the hospital got state approval for the $45 million project with the stipulation that it pay $10 million of the cost in cash. He said that while the state still owes it $25 million in back MaineCare payments, CMMC will fulfill the cash requirement using some of the $39 million in MaineCare money that Maine is soon expected to pay.  

"Without this settlement, I have no clue where that money would have come from," he said.

He said the hospital would borrow to pay for the rest of the project. 

Another 14 private treatment rooms will be added in July as part of Phase II. Phase III will include changes to radiology, along with final renovations to the existing hospital space. The project is slated to be finished in February 2012.

When it's done, the Emergency Department will go from about 20,000 square feet to about 38,000 square feet.

Lewiston's other hospital, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, completed an Emergency Department expansion last February, more than doubling its space. That project cost $8.5 million.

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 's picture

and they are also clearing

and they are also clearing out all the old office cubicles and buying all new! Sounds like all those Maine Care dollars are being well spent!

Amy  McDaniel's picture


I am so offended by this! I am offended that as a tax payer programs that help people are being cut to pay for pretty water falls in waiting rooms. I can tell you that when my child was sick and needed emergency care the last flippin thing I cared about was a pretty waterfall in the darn waiting room. I doubt anyone else in a crisis situation will care either. This all for show, so some big wig at the top can brag on his resume about how he made somethig of CMMC!How much free or reduced cancer treatments could that money have given? How many uninsured people could have recieved care with that money. How many jobs could have been spared? Your priorities are screwed up!

Steve Hughes's picture

Terry beat me to the punch!

"bubbly, color-changing water feature, granite and calming earth tones. "

This is the first time I have commented on a story on this site.... but I am getting tired of this!

This is ridiculous! Between all the free health care insurance that is passed around this town/state, and these un-needed expensive ER features, there is no wonder why healthcare is so expensive.... Instead of staffing the ER correctly so people don't have to wait 3 hours to be seen they build this. I could care less about a waterfall in the waiting room, just get me seen by a doctor.........

You think this is nice you should see the VP's conference rooms and offices along with their hefty wages. I hear the Gov Lepage is paying a visit to see the new marval (If he hasn't yet). I hope he has a meeting in that VP board room so he can see this waste! I also hope he reconsiders paying the hospitals everything that is owed to them and uses the money elsewhere aftr he sees this waste!

And everyone wonders why people get laid off..................

 's picture

A "bubbly color changing

A "bubbly color changing water feature"??? How many thousands of dollars did that cost. A better question might be, how many jobs that were lost last year during CMMC's cutbacks ,because of a severe revenue shortage, could have been brought back by eliminating that feature and the cost of operation and upkeep?
Waste waste waste, and since it's hundreds of millions of dollars in Maine care that was paid to the hospital by our new governer, it's waste of our tax dollars.


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