Patty Wight

News Producer

Patty is a graduate of the University of Vermont and a multiple award-winning reporter for Maine Public Radio. Her specialty is health coverage: from policy stories to patient stories, physical health to mental health and anything in between. Patty joined Maine Public Radio in 2012 after producing stories as a freelancer for NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She got hooked on radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

Ways to Connect

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Marine mammal rescuers have responded to 32 seal deaths in southern Maine over the past three days.  Most of the deaths were in Saco, where 10 seal pups and one adult were found on beaches Monday.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

It has been a hot, dry summer, and around southern Maine conditions have been just right for something unpleasant and unhealthy: bacterial contamination. About a half a dozen freshwater beaches in Maine have been forced to close as a result.

A third Maine beach has closed this week due to E. coli contamination. Swimming has been banned at Highland Lake Beach in Bridgton after testing revealed bacteria levels in the water that are above the acceptable limit.

A nursing home in West Paris that cares for 72 residents has announced it will close in 60 days.  The business manager of Ledgeview Living Center, Roger Wilday, says insufficient Medicaid reimbursement rates are the driving factor.

A nursing home in West Paris that cares for 72 residents has announced that it will close in 60 days.

The business manager of Ledgeview Living Center, Roger Wilday, says insufficient Medicaid reimbursement rates are the driving factor.

"At this time our challenges are, you know, MaineCare reimbursement system doesn't cover what our expenses are for the facility,” he says.

MaineCare is the state version of Medicaid. Wilday says Ledgeview is contacting other nursing homes to find placements for residents.

Maine had among the highest annual rate of increases in the number of U.S. mothers who had opioid use disorder at the time of labor and delivery during a recent 15-year period.

Another beach is closed emporarily because of E. coli contamination.

More than 100 experts on aging are in Portland this week for a summit on rural seniors and isolation.

Jess Maurer, the executive director of the Maine Council on Aging, says Maine needs to do a better job making sure seniors are socially connected.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Consolidated Communications — the company that acquired FairPoint a year ago — has reached a tentative contract agreement with employees’ unions in Northern New England.

The CEO of Consolidated Communications says the agreement reflects improved relations between unions and the company. The president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, Don Trementozzi, says negotiations were respectful.

“We did have a viable conversation back and forth, and they did negotiate, although their initial goals were much different,” he says.

Bill Blevins / Flickr

Brunswick has been a hotbed of activity for rabies in Maine this summer.

The President of Bridgton and Rumford Hospitals, David Frum, resigned this week, only one day after the board of the hospitals' parent company, Central Maine Healthcare (CMH), affirmed their support of CEO Jeff Brickman.

Medical staff at Bridgton, Rumford and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston recently made no-confidence votes in Brickman.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Less than one percent of Maine's coastline offers guaranteed public access. It's a near-historic low that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust wants to reverse.

The board of Central Maine Healthcare has affirmed its support of CEO Jeff Brickman after medical staff at its three member hospitals recently took no-confidence votes.

Chair Deborah Dunlap Avasthi issued an email to staff Wednesday, saying the board has also amended the organization's bylaws to allow medical staff to have a more active role in governance.

The federal government has approved Maine's request to reinstate a program that has previously lowered individual insurance premiums.

Under the program, consumers with expensive medical conditions will be placed into an invisible high risk pool. Their medical costs will be paid through their premiums, as well as a $4 per month surcharge on all policyholders in the state.

Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says that in a state like Maine with a small population, a few high claims can raise premiums for everyone.

Central Maine Medical Center

The medical staff at Central Maine Medical Center have taken a vote of no-confidence in Central Maine Healthcare CEO Jeff Brickman.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that Monday night's vote was 100-to-66, with a few staff abstaining.

Medical staff at CMH's other two hospitals in Bridgton and Rumford have also voted no-confidence in Brickman, who took the helm in 2016.