Hospital CEOs talk about testing turn around times in the County

Published: Dec. 24, 2020 at 2:25 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - As cases of covid 19 continue to rise, getting information out to the public continues to be vital. WAGM sat down with the four CEOs of the local hospitals to discuss several topics surrounding the virus. With rising numbers, turn around time for testing has slowed.

Peter Sirois, the President and CEO of Northern Maine Medical Center says; “it’s still a backlog right now. We’ve contracted with it. A company out of state, um, uh, guaranteeing a 24 hour to 48 hour turnaround. So we’re sending all our pre-op op operated cases there. We’re doing a lot of other, um, community members there. We’re keeping our employees, uh, uh, our PCR for our employees here in house for that and our inpatients on our ER patients. But everybody else is going, um, out of state, uh, which is too bad, but they’re inundated with. With testing at the state. And I don’t blame them. It’s just, just so much has happened over the last, you know, two weeks, uh, that it’s made it hard for them to keep up.

Greg LaFrancois the President of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital says; “Our system runs a lab. Uh, so we were fortunate. We have 24 hour turnaround time here in the state, but any of the state tests that we do and send to the state for, for analysis, that’s a couple of days.

Kris Doody, CEO at Cary Medical Center says; “You know, we’re experiencing the same thing at Carey. Um, this, when we think that we’re getting the results back within a good time frame, the companies that we work with add more, more hospitals or more people who need their test results. And the turnaround time goes from 24 hours or 36 hours to 48 hours. Um, in fact, we were doing really well with the company out of Nashville, Tennessee, if you can imagine, and they just added Walgreens. Uh, a national contract and their, their time got extended an extra 12 hours, 12 to 24 hours. Um, so we’re working with multiple labs to try to keep that turnaround time as low as we can, but the state is, you know, again, as, as has been mentioned by my colleagues, the state’s been inundated. And to think that the state, the Maine CDC can turn around these tests for all of, uh, the state is it’s impossible because the numbers have just been increasing so quickly.

Shawn Anderson, the CEO of Houlton Regional Hospital says; “With this, with the state lab having, um, actually essentially shut down, um, testing services for a lot of, um, of, uh, types, um, just in the last week. We’re hoping that the backlog that they’ve got, um, to get through that they’ll get through it and that they’ll get back up and running, um, so that the state lab will continue to provide those. Test services going forward, but when that will restart again, we don’t know. So we’ve all had to essentially scramble to, um, find additional contracts and find additional labs, um, that will take our, our, uh, our tests really important to me.

Doody adds; “You know, the other thing kind of were, um, as Pete mentioned, we have PCR machines in our hospitals and we test locally and it’s not necessarily having the machine. It’s getting the supplies for the machine to run the test locally. Um, we would run them all at our hospital when we say every part person needs to be tested. If we could get the supply from our vendor, which is a challenge. Um, so we, we make sure that we use, we do our in-house testing for only certain individuals are, uh, the employees, people who are, are, um, patients who are getting admitted. So we can have a result prior to, to the patient actually going to their, to their room. And we have to prioritize that, unfortunately, because there’s only limited supplies.

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