Portland, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited Maine Medical Center to thank health care providers and staff for their selfless work during the pandemic. She also discussed the hospital’s plan to construct, modernize, and expand cardiovascular operating rooms. Senator Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, recently secured $3 million for this project in an Appropriations bill, which must still be voted upon by the full Senate and House. Senator Collins was joined by Jeff Sanders, President of Maine Medical Center, and Katie Fullam Harris, Chief Government Affairs Officer for MaineHealth.
“Maine Medical Center’s dedicated health care providers and staff worked selflessly and tirelessly throughout the pandemic. During this ongoing public health emergency, these frontline workers have treated more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients with courage, compassion, and skill,” said Senator Collins. “As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I have strongly supported their efforts by championing the Provider Relief Fund, which has provided Maine Medical Center with $74 million to continue to provide excellent care to patients. I was also delighted to secure $3 million that would be used to expand the number of state-of-the-art hybrid operating rooms at the hospital, allowing more Mainers to access minimally invasive and highly effective treatments for heart disease, coronary valve disease, and other cardiac issues. I will continue to champion this funding as the appropriations process moves forward.”
“We are grateful to Sen. Collins for coming to Maine Medical Center and meeting with our care team members to thank them for their extraordinary contributions throughout the pandemic,” said MMC President Jeff Sanders. “We appreciate her advocacy in pursuing federal support for our care team members and the patients we will serve in our cardiac procedure rooms in the new Malone Family Tower, currently under construction on Congress Street. As MMC and the health care industry continue to grapple with the ongoing workforce shortage, it will take efforts like this for us to succeed in pursuing our vision of working together so our communities are healthiest in America.”
Maine Medical Center is the largest private employer in Cumberland County, with 9,500 employees, including 450 physicians. To date, Maine Medical Center has received more than $74 million through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), a program championed by Senator Collins that has helped prevent health care providers from permanently closing their doors during the pandemic.
The hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute performs complex, minimally invasive heart surgeries known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) and MitraClip Percutaneous Mitral Valve Repair System (MitraClip). TAVR and MitraClip, as well as vascular surgeries such as aortic and thoracic aneurysm repair, require an operating environment that supports both advanced imaging as found in a cardiac catheterization lab and a sterile field as found in traditional operating rooms. The combination of these technologies form what is called a Hybrid Operating Room (Hybrid OR).
Maine Medical Center transformed an existing space into a cardiovascular hybrid operating room, and it is in the process of building four more in the Malone Family Tower. If the Health and Human Services Appropriations bill is enacted into law, Maine Medical Center will use the $3 million Senator Collins secured to support this project.