MaineGeneral Health's Dr. Steve Diaz new MHA Board Chair

Dr. Steve Diaz, MD, chief medical officer for MaineGeneral Health in Augusta, has been installed as chair of the Maine Hospital Association (MHA) Board of Directors.

Diaz,-Steve,-MD,-for-Fall-2018-HM-(cmyk)-082818.jpgOrdinarily, Dr. Diaz’s installation would have taken place at the Association’s annual meeting on June 17, but the conference was canceled earlier this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the first time in 34 years that a physician has assumed the role of chair of the Association board. 

“Steve was slated to become chair long before we ever heard of COVID-19,” said MHA President Steven Michaud.  “It’s just our good luck, for both the association and the state, that our new board chair is a doctor.  It will definitely help as we navigate the next year.”

The pandemic has presented Maine hospitals with extraordinary challenges, Michaud said.  Although hospitals in Maine avoided being overwhelmed with patients ill with COVID-19, thanks to stay-at-home orders and temporary business closures, the cancelation of elective procedures has resulted in drastic financial losses for Maine hospitals, Michaud said.  Short-term losses are an estimated $600 million.  Many Maine hospitals had been operating on slim or negative margins before the pandemic struck.  The losses from canceled surgeries and other non-emergency care are staggering.

But Diaz, who has been involved in state groups working on re-opening healthcare and other industry sectors in the state, remains optimistic.

“I am excited to become the chair of the MHA board of directors,” he said.  “This challenging time heightens our need for Maine hospital collaboration and advocacy.  I believe our group is up to the challenge, and am very much looking forward to this opportunity.”

Diaz has been on the active medical staff at MaineGeneral since 1993.  While at MaineGeneral, he became the assistant medical director of emergency medicine in 2002 and left that position in July 2007 on his way to becoming vice president of medical administration, and now the system chief medical officer.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.  He has published two handbooks on emergency medicine that have been translated to become part of an international distribution.  He also has an extensive emergency medical services and disaster medicine background.  Diaz participated in many workgroups dealing with Maine’s opiate crisis, and has testified to a US Senate subcommittee on consistent messaging and unraveling pressures to prescribe.  

On the MHA Board, Diaz succeeds outgoing Chair John Ronan, president of Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital in Blue Hill and Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth, who assumes the role of immediate past chair.  Chair-elect is Mark Fourre, MD, president of Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.  Terri Vieira, president of Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville and Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, is treasurer.  Jeffrey Sanders, president of Maine Medical Center in Portland is secretary. 

Joining the board are Shawn Anderson, chief executive officer at Houlton Regional Hospital; Crystal Landry, RN, chief executive officer, Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln; Nate Howell, president, Southern Maine Health Care; and Steve Jorgensen, president of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.