A merger, buyout and layoffs at three separate hospitals across the state came in response to new financial challenges, according to hospital officials.
In Sanford, the Bangor Daily News reported that the 58-bed Goodall Hospital scored the final regulatory approval from the state to join Portland's Maine Medical Center as a part of the MaineHealth network, a move that Goodall CEO Patsy Aprile said came in response to "a changing landscape of government reimbursement, skyrocketing costs, increasing regulation and a drive to improve quality…."
That move comes just a week after the Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare network and Brunswick's Mid Coast Hospital announced competing applications to the state to seek similar approval for a merger with Brunswick's Parkview Adventist Medical Center.
In Blue Hill, the BDN also reported that Blue Hill Memorial Hospital on Thursday announced a buyout plan for hospital employees aimed at slashing the hospital's budget and avoiding layoffs. Hospital officials told the paper that the move anticipates a reorganization to align the hospital with others in the Eastern Maine Healthcare System, which have adopted an "accountable care organization" model that anticipates changes in financial incentives based on patient well-being that will come as a part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, in Waterville, Inland Hospital announced layoffs for 10 employees Thursday, according to the Morning Sentinel, and the closure of the hospital's Walmart clinic in a budget reduction effort.
John Dalton, that hospital's president, also cited changes to performance measures and reimbursements as steep challenges for the hospital.
"We live in incredibly tumultuous times for health care," Dalton told the Sentinel. "The whole way that we do business is changing. What we're being rewarded for, what we're being penalized for. Small hospitals like us are, in a sense, always fragile. Any bump in the road can have consequences."