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October 26, 2018

Mayo Regional Hospital’s proposed merger with Northern Light Health hits speed bump

The proposed merger of Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and Brewer-based Northern Light Health (formerly known as Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems) is on hold, following a Piscataquis County Superior Court judge's order earlier this week.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Justice Donald Marden issued his order the same day that Gerald S. Nessmann sued Hospital Administrative District No. 4, which oversees Mayo Regional Hospital. The newspaper's court reporter Judy Harrison reported that Nessmann is a member of the district's board and is seeking a hearing for a preliminary injunction in order to get more information on the proposed merge.

No hearing date has been set, BDN reported, noting that typically one must be held within 10 calendar days of the judge's order.

A Northern Light Health spokesman told BDN it would "stand aside" while the board and Nessmann work out their dispute

Marie Vienneau, president and CEO of Mayo Regional Hospital, in her "CEO message" posted earlier this year on the hospital's website, said the hospital and Northern Light Health had been working toward executing "a closer affiliation" for several years. She indicated that the two organizations have been spending time this year exploring "operational efficiencies, community education and legal work to prepare for a potential integration in 2019."

"For the remainder of this year, we will focus on the anticipated benefits and outcomes of joining a larger system," she wrote. "While I can't go into detail, it is our intent to retain and even expand access to as many clinical services as possible locally."

The 25-bed critical access hospital serves more than 26,000 residents in Piscataquis and adjacent Penobscot and Somerset counties, according to the hospital's website. Its emergency department handled over 10,000 visits last year.

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