SMHC Client Relations Manager Stacy Merrill was recently chosen as the hospital’s Caregiver of the Year. Left to right at the announcement are SMHC CFO Rick Olsen, Merrill, SMHC President Nate Howell and Director of Client Relations Sherry Van Joolen. Courtesy Photo

BIDDEFORD — Manager of Client Relations Stacy Merrill has been named Southern Maine Health Care’s 2020 Caregiver of the Year, according to a news release from the hospital.

The award is given annually, and the recipient is chosen based upon patient comments and recommendations from people throughout the organization. The recipient “must exemplify extraordinary commitment to patients on a daily basis; show compassion, empathy and respect in the delivery of care to patients and their families; acknowledge and meet unique physical, emotional and practical needs of patients and their families and; promote an environment of cooperation and collaboration in which the expertise and experience of all health care professionals are available to patients,” the release stated.

Merrill, employed at SMHC for three years, handles unresolved patient concerns, partnering with physician practices, risk management, billing and coding to identify the source and helps resolve it. Hospital officials said Merrill is dedicated to finding solutions for patients to receive the care they need, regardless of their insurance or benefits plans, working to eliminate barriers that patients may face.

“Many times, patients start out extremely frustrated and by the time the call is completed, they are laughing and joking with Stacy,” said Sherry Van Joolen, SMHC director of Client Relations. “She just has such a way of putting patients at ease.”

“Stacy’s unwavering dedication ensures that our community members have the basic resources they need, that are essential, but often taken for granted — access to health care, medications, food, shelter,” said SMHC President, Nate Howell. “Stacy’s continued exceptional efforts demonstrates her concern for the welfare for our patients and her commitment to our values. We’re lucky to have Stacy as part of the SMHC family and she is very deserving of this honor.”