Spring Harbor Hospital President to Retire in December 2022
March 08, 2022
Mary Jane Krebs, president of southern Maine’s only private, nonprofit psychiatric hospital, built a legacy of excellence in delivering patient-centered care over the past 50 years.
“During the past 25 years, in which she helped build Spring Harbor Hospital as we know it today, Mary Jane has improved the lives of thousands of people with behavioral health needs,” said Barton in statement to employees of southern Maine’s only private, nonprofit psychiatric hospital, which is a division of Maine Behavioral Healthcare. “After devoting so much of herself to leading teams of providers and creating the conditions for delivering optimal patient care, I understand Mary Jane’s desire to spend more time with her husband, children and grandchildren. Fortunately for us, she has agreed to stay on through the end of the calendar year to manage the transition.”
Krebs has held several leadership roles at Spring Harbor Hospital, Maine Behavioral Healthcare and New York-based hospitals in her 50 years of treating and supporting people with behavioral health needs.
Prior to her appointment as President of Spring Harbor Hospital in 2015 and interim Chief Nursing Officer this past June, Krebs was the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer from 2014 to 2015. During her leadership of the 100-bed hospital in Westbrook, she led the creation of the Lunder Family Alliance program, a distinctive, integrated program that complements traditional psychiatric treatment with support for the vocational, peer and family needs of young-adult patients ages 18-30. Thanks to generous donors, including the Lunder Foundation and the Lunder and Purdy families, the Alliance program offers support in essential areas through Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s Family Navigators, Peer Support Specialist and Vocational Support Services.
Krebs also played a key role in the creation of the Harbor Performance Initiative, a quality benchmarking and learning collaborative with nonprofit, free-standing psychiatric hospitals nationwide. Through the work of helping participating organizations improve the quality of their care and enhance their operational best practices, the Harbor Performance Initiative resulted in the development of a Behavioral Health Acuity Index, which will undergo the necessary validation research and soon be used at many psychiatric hospitals to measure specific, tangible progress in patients.
As the clinical leader responsible for supervision of all clinical disciplines except for the medical staff, Krebs was an instrumental member of the executive team that developed Maine Mental Health Partners and eventually Maine Behavioral Healthcare. In her former dual role as CEO of the former Community Counseling Center (CCC) in Portland and Administrative Director for Maine Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, she helped lead the transition of CCC to Maine Behavioral Healthcare and coordinate patient care and services with MMC. In partnership with the chief operating officer at Southern Maine Health Care, Krebs led the development of the Sanford-based behavioral health units on the former Goodall campus in Sanford that resulted in the addition of 40 behavioral health patient beds available within the MaineHealth system. She also has led the assessment and management of behavioral health units and services for Southern Maine Health Care and Pen Bay Medical Center, as well as the behavioral health clinical effort to transition MMC’s P6 Unit from a general psychiatric unit to a geriatric-medical psychiatric unit.
Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s new 28,000-square-foot Glickman Lauder Center of Excellence for Autism and Developmental Disorders, located adjacent to Spring Harbor Hospital, is rooted in work Krebs did in the early 2000s. At the request of then-Governor John Baldacci, Krebs ensured the new Spring Harbor Hospital facility included an inpatient unit and special-purpose private school for children with autism and developmental disorders, which came to be known as Spring Harbor Academy. Through this new unit, families of Maine children with autism and developmental disorders could be involved in their treatment while the children could continue living at home. Prior to the development of Spring Harbor Academy, Maine children with profound autism and developmental disorders often had to receive treatment and care in out-of-state specialty units and were often transitioned to residential facilities. As then Chief Clinical and Nursing Officer, Krebs arranged for leaders from Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island to consult with Spring Harbor clinical leaders on understanding the needs of children with profound autism and developmental disorders and developing programming to meet their needs within the specialty unit that opened in 2005.
Krebs began her career in behavioral health care as a psychiatric nurse, first at New York Hospital’s Cornell Medical Center, Westchester Division (now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital) and later with the New Rochelle Guidance Center, where she was the nurse member of a multidisciplinary team that created one of the nation’s first psychiatric day care centers for the chronically mentally ill. She later earned a master’s in nursing at New York University, focusing on healthcare systems, and became certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in adult psychiatry.
She was then recruited to create a position for the 1,000-bed New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center that would be responsible for educating and supporting nurses caring for medical and surgical patients. In this role that she developed, Krebs directly cared for patients and helped nurses and physicians appreciate patients’ emotional responses to hospitalization. During this time her interest in how individuals respond to illness and loss resulted in her being funded as a co-investigator in a study of how patients cope with amputation. Her work later led to editing a nursing text, focusing on management challenges in clinical practices for nurses employed in any aspect of healthcare.
Krebs went on to hold several progressive leadership roles, including Assistant Director of Nursing at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, Director of Nursing at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Conn., Vice President for Clinical Services at the former Jackson Brook Institute in Maine, Chief Clinical and Nursing Officer for Spring Harbor Hospital and Maine Medical Center’s Dept. of Psychiatry, and CEO of the former Community Counseling Center, which she successfully transitioned into Maine Behavioral Healthcare.
“In each of her roles, Mary Jane has made the patient experience central to the work of leading teams and ensuring facilities are staffed and equipped for delivering unmatched care,” Barton said. “Through periods of change, Mary Jane gave care team members steady and supportive guidance informed by her own experience as a provider and her vast institutional knowledge of behavioral health services in Maine. We at Maine Behavioral Healthcare are grateful that the wisdom, instincts and insights she gathered through many years of being a nurse continue to fuel her passion for making sure our patients receive the best possible care every day.”
About Maine Behavioral Healthcare
Maine Behavioral Healthcare is a leading provider of mental health services, with over 30 outpatient locations throughout southern, western and mid-coast Maine, as well as Spring Harbor Hospital, providing an integrated continuum of comprehensive, coordinated behavioral healthcare for Maine residents of all ages. Learn more at MaineBehavioralHealthcare.org.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of nine local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,700 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With close to 22,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. It includes Franklin Memorial Hospital/Franklin Community Health Network in Farmington, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, Maine Behavioral Healthcare in South Portland, MaineHealth Care at Home in Saco, Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, N.H., Mid Coast-Parkview Health in Brunswick, NorDx in Scarborough, Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County Hospital in Rockport and Belfast, Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford, Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook and Stephens Memorial Hospital/Western Maine Health Care in Norway. MaineHealth Affiliates include Maine General Health in Augusta and Waterville, New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Portland and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. It is also a significant stakeholder in the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization in Portland.