Sharing Emergency Physicians
Helps Miles and St. Andrews Maintain High Standard of
In Dr. Mark Fourre’s two decades as an emergency
the number of patients treated in emergency departments
in Maine and nationwide has increased steadily while
patients’ conditions have become progressively more
Those trends have
affected emergency departments everywhere, causing
overcrowding and the need for newer and more expensive
technologies as well as a shortage of trained emergency
and St. Andrews hospitals have been able to avoid the
overcrowding that affects many urban medical centers,
the challenge of
is one of the main reasons the two hospitals began
sharing emergency physicians last year, said Dr. Fourre,
Director of both the Miles and St. Andrews Emergency
physicians and a single management structure, the two
emergency departments gain flexibility in scheduling and
are also better able to recruit doctors by combining
management structure enables the two departments to
develop common approaches to quality, education and
administration, allowing greater consistency in the way
conditions are addressed at the two facilities.
“Whether we are taking
care of a stroke, a heart attack, or pneumonia, we
want to be sure we are all doing the same thing and we
are all doing the right thing,” said Dr. Fourre.
That consistency is
increasingly important as the communities served by the
County’s population has the highest average age of any
county in Maine, the oldest state in the nation,
according to the latest full census.
An aging population means
more patients with complex medical conditions, including
many with more than one serious condition, such as heart
disease complicated by diabetes.
In the past four years
alone, the number of Miles Emergency Department patients
whose condition is serious enough to cause them to be
admitted to the hospital after initial treatment in the
emergency department has increased 40 percent.
and policies helps both hospitals deliver the highest
possible standard of care while making the best possible
use of scarce resources.
As members of MaineHealth, the two emergency departments
also have access to subspecialties and extremely high
levels of technology that will allow them to continue to
offer a high standard of care while maintaining a
tradition of personal service, something that is
increasingly rare in emergency departments.
The ability to spend time
with patients at Miles and St. Andrews results in a more
satisfying experience for both patients and doctors and
has helped recruit doctors to the hospitals, including
Dr. Fourre, who came to Miles three and-a-half years ago
from Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was
Director of the Residency Program.
Dr. Fourre grew up and went
to medical school in Minnesota. While he was in medical
school, he imagined himself working as a rural family
“This was a way
of getting back to my original intent,” said Dr.