MaineHealth INNOVATION is…

MaineHealth INNOVATION is…



two men wearing surgical masks standing in a small food store setting

Tom Scwarz and Brook Betts at the LincolnHealth grab and go grocery store

Like many other MaineHealth facilities, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta, ME, could only serve food to care team members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Schwarz, Director of the LincolnHealth Miles Café, and his team scrambled to accommodate the change. Tom then learned that many care team members were unable to buy groceries, due to demanding schedules. When they could shop, they faced widespread supply shortages. Tom and his team quickly shifted gears again, determined to bring groceries to care team members. Tom’s innovative intervention transformed the beloved Miles Café self-service salad bar into a grab-and-go grocery store. Within 48 hours the salad bar was replaced with food coolers and Tom was ordering hard-to-find staples such as bread, orange juice, cold cuts, flour, cleaning supplies and toilet paper through his hospital supply chain connections.

“The response has been incredible,” says Tom. “Employees love it and they hope it doesn’t go away after the pandemic ends.”

Tom and his team have expanded operations beyond keeping fellow care team members well stocked; they’re now providing meals and groceries to community members in need. Upon hearing of an elderly LincolnHealth patient who was concerned about who would care for her husband while she was in the hospital, the Miles Café team promptly prepared a series of meals and bags of groceries, all delivered to the couple’s home by Tom himself. Tom let providers know that if they had patients in need of meals or groceries, the reimagined Miles Café would do everything they could to assist.

Tom, his team and LincolnHealth leadership continue to innovate and are seeking a long-term solution to keep the store open and thriving long after the pandemic wanes.


Brooks Betts
Senior Director of Operations

Jo-Anne Blomquist
Supervisor, Food Services
LincolnHealth Miles Campus

Miles Café staff

Tom Schwarz
Director of Nutrition Services
LincolnHealth Miles Campus


MaineHealth demonstrated a commitment to innovation in its significant efforts to establish multiple community COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Maine and New Hampshire.

“Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 response was helped immensely by the work we’ve been doing for several years partnering and practicing with local and state health agencies. We found a trust in each other that improved decision-making and allowed us to be nimble.”

Manager, Clinical Education & Emergency Management
Memorial Hospital

Will was one of the many Memorial Hospital care team members who helped create a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the former Mt. Washington Observatory Discovery Center in North Conway, NH.

Will Owen


Innovation When it is Needed Most

Read Story

Helping Newborns in Distress

Read Story

NavigatER: An App for Patient Piece of Mind

Read Story