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March 27, 2024

Congress approves $42M for upgrades at 11 Maine hospitals, health centers

aerial photo of buildings with color blocks laid over it COURTESY / SMRT, MDI HOSPITAL MDI Hospital was approved for $5 million to expand its emergency department. A concept plan from 2021 shows the expanded department in light blue.

Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor will get $5 million in congressionally directed funds to renovate, expand and add equipment to its emergency department — a project aimed at addressing long-term capacity needs at the 25-bed critical access hospital.

The project was conceived before the pandemic, but the hospital was still in the early stages of planning the project in 2021. Top priorities called for improvements to the emergency department, expansion of the surgery area and the addition of a new entrance to the hospital from Main Street.

COVID accelerated the need for work on the emergency department and to create a streamlined traffic pattern for emergency vehicles, Christina Maguire, the hospital’s president and CEO told Mainebiz at the time.

MDI was one of 11 Maine hospitals and health care centers that received funding approval from Congress this week, adding up to a total of $42.3 million for facility expansions and new equipment.

The money was included in the current Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill, which was signed into law by the president.

“Ensuring Mainers in every part of the state receive the critical medical services they need is always a priority,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.  

Collins was a strong advocate for the funding throughout the appropriations process.  Her role as vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was key to securing its inclusion in the final package.

The money is intended to help to improve the quality and accessibility of health care services throughout the state.

The other funded projects are:

  • Baileyville Rural Health Center, part of Calais Community Hospital: $1.4 million to construct and equip a new rural health center. 
  • Bangor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: $366,000  for facilities and equipment to improve safety and accessibility. 
  • East Machias Clinic, part of the Regional Medical Center at Lubec: $5 million to construct and equip a health care facility in Washington County. 
  • Eastport Health Center: $5.1 million to construct and equip a new dental, medical and behavioral health center. 
  • St. Joseph Hospital, Bangor: $1.6 million to purchase and install a new MRI machine. 
  • St. Andre Health Care, Biddeford: $1.3 million for air quality control system enhancements. 
  • Cary Medical Center, Caribou: $9.8 million for facilities and equipment to support an improved electronic medical records platform. 
  • Islesboro Health Center: $845,000 to construct and equip a health center. 
  • Central Maine Medical Center, Lewiston: $2.1 million for surgical technology facility and equipment upgrades.
  • Millinocket Regional Hospital: $9.9 million to construct and equip an expanded emergency department.

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