Dear Sun Spots: The Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society will hold a barn sale from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. July 7 to 9 at 440 Hatch Road in Auburn. We need help with donations of items.

Anyone with donations can please call Monique at 783-0042. Small household items, dishes, books, puzzles, tools all items in reasonable condition. No clothes. We are also looking for left over garage sale items to also include in our sale. Please contact Monique to drop off or if you need pick ups.

We will also collect redemption bottles at the garage sale. All proceeds will benefit the Father Begin Library. In addition, who might be interested in our left over items? – Maureen Chicoine, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: What are the private and semi-private room rates at Maine Medical Center? Does Maine Medical Center allow patients to use laptop computers? Thank you.- No Name, No Town.

Answer: Sun Spots corresponded with Martha J.M. Davoli, director of public information and media services at Maine Medical Center who says:

Maine Medical Center’s pricing includes the costs associated with a patient’s hospitalization, such as staff wages and benefits, supplies, equipment, and facilities, and include the cost to provide free care to eligible patients and care not fully reimbursed by government payors such as Medicare and MaineCare. The cost of care provided by a physician or surgeon is a separate charge. Their private room rate is $903, and the semi-private rate is $833. Any patient or family with concerns about paying for services at MMC is invited to call their registration office at 662-2433 for assistance.

Sun Spots also checked in with Chuck Gill, Central Maine Medical Center’s vice president of public affairs, who says the average charge for the entire stay at the hospital for a newly delivered baby without significant health problems is $1,414; hospital charges for the mother with the normal delivery of a baby or babies without surgery is $4,047; a Cesarean section, hospital charges for the mother with normal delivery of a baby or babies through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen, is $7,958.

Gill notes that one of the requirements of the Dirigo legislation several years ago is that CMMC list the charges for the most common hospital stays. Charges are for the length of time in the hospital and for certain payers, such as Medicare and MaineCare, a flat amount for the admission to the hospital.

Regarding your second question, MMC’s Davoli says the hospital’s wireless network is available to patients and their families so they can have access to the Internet, using their laptop computers. In May, 34 patients and families connected to the Web. Maine Medical Center is now looking at ways to help patients whose laptops do not have internal wireless capability.

They know the program won’t work for every laptop, but so it seems to for most. Davoli says helping patients stay “connected” to their loved ones through e-mail and instant messaging supports the hospital’s goal to provide superior patient and family centered care. CMMC is currently a few months away from providing this to patients. It’s a matter of ensuring computer systems are compatible.

And Franklin Memorial Hospital has about 30 laptop computers available for patient use through their education department.

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