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March 1, 2019

Mid Coast–Parkview Health exploring possible merger with MaineHealth

Courtesy / Mid Coast-Parkview Health
Courtesy / Mid Coast-Parkview Health
Mid Coast-Parkview Health President and CEO Lois Skillings said the Brunswick-based health system is financially strong but like other community hospitals in Maine and nationwide it faces considerable uncertainties from shifting government practices, increase regulation, growth in uncompensated care and rapid technology advancements. For that reason it is beginning to explore the possibility of merging with the Portland-based MaineHealth system.

About Mid Coast–Parkview Health

Mid Coast–Parkview Health is a Brunswick-based health care system addressing a full continuum of community health, wellness, and prevention needs with a full-service 93-bed hospital (Mid Coast Hospital), a diverse medical group (Mid Coast Medical Group ), senior health care (Mid Coast Senior Health Center) and home health care services (CHANS Home Health & Hospice).

Mid Coast-Parkview Health — the Brunswick-based health care network that expanded in 2015 when Mid Coast Hospital merged with Parkview Adventist Medical Center — is exploring the possibility of integrating into the MaineHealth system.

Mid Coast-Parkview Health's board voted unanimously on Feb. 19 to begin a four-to-six-month process of evaluating a possible merger with Portland-based MaineHealth, the largest integrated health system in northern New England.

With eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral health care network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization, MaineHealth has close to 19,000 employees and provides health care to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire.

"Mid Coast–Parkview Health has been clinically affiliated with MaineHealth for more than 25 years, providing strong collaboration and a connection for tertiary care with Maine Medical Center," Sandy Morrell Rooney, chair of the Mid Coast–Parkview Health board, said in a news release on Thursday. "The goal of this exploratory process is to determine if joining MaineHealth could benefit the patients and this community by ensuring a sustainable model for health care in the Midcoast region for generations to come."

In a telephone interview with Mainebiz this morning, Mid Coast-Parkview Health President and CEO Lois Skillings said the Brunswick-based health system is financially strong but like other community hospitals in Maine and nationwide it faces considerable uncertainties from shifting government practices, increased regulation, growth in uncompensated care and rapid technology advancements.

In each of those areas, she said, integrating with a larger system like MaineHealth could create efficiencies and enhance the overall quality of care and services provided in Mid Coast-Parkview's region.

"The existence of a strong local health care system, centered around the needs of patients and the community's continued access to exceptional care, remains our No. 1 priority," she said. "Despite relentless challenges of navigating health care at the local level, Mid Coast Hospital and the entire Mid Coast–Parkview Health system remain financially secure and clinically strong today, but trends that are likely to continue are threatening delivery of high-quality affordable health care in the Midcoast area over the longer term."

Skillings said Mid Coast-Parkview is initiating its discussions with MaineHealth "from our current position of strength and see a potential opportunity to be part of a world-class system that could enhance the delivery of exceptional care."

She noted that Mid Coast-Parkview is financially in the black.

"Over the last year or so, as we look at the horizon and see ever-increasing complexities in health care, we began to consider that clinically and organizationally it could be an advantage to integrate fully with MaineHealth," she said. "We are currently a clinical affiliate with MaineHealth. Every day we work closely with them. What we anticipate as a possible benefit (of a merger) is that we would be part of the same organization and be able to achieve economies of scale" in such areas as information technology, telemedicine and purchasing medical products.

Next steps

Courtesy / Mid Coast-Parkview Health
Courtesy / Mid Coast-Parkview Health
Mid Coast-Parkview Health has scheduled four public meetings on the possible merger with MaineHealth.

In its news release, Mid Coast-Parkview Health said the exploratory committee will determine if joining MaineHealth "could better serve the long-term needs of the community, ensuring continued clinical excellence, integrated services, shared technology and more effective use of resources at the local level."

As part of the exploratory process, Mid Coast–Parkview Health will engage with employees, medical staff, corporators, volunteers, patients, donors and community members to ask for input on what is important to preserve within the local health care culture.

"This is important," Skillings said. "We want the communities we serve to know that we want to hear from the public, from our employees and key stakeholders, early on in this exploratory process," she said. "It will help shape discussions further down the road."

Four public forums are planned for the month of March:

  • March 18, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St. in Brunswick, at 5:30 p.m.
  • March 19, Patten Free Library, 33 Summer St. in Bath, at 3 p.m.
  • March 19, Harpswell Town Office, 263 Mountain Road in Harpswell, 6 p.m.
  • March 20, Topsham Public Library, 25 Foreside Road in Topsham, at 5:30 p.m.

"Mid Coast Hospital has been caring for the health of this region for more than 100 years and we remain dedicated to delivering the highest-quality care with careful stewardship of finances and resources," said Skillings. "We have been so grateful for the support of our community and value your input in this important discussion about our future."

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