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June 18, 2019

Mid Coast-Parkview, MaineHealth boards OK merger

Mid Coast-Parkview Health CEO Lois Skillings Courtesy / Mid Coast-Parkview Health Lois Skillings will retire in 2023 as president of Mid Coast–Parkview Health.

Mid Coast-Parkview Health, which operates 93-bed Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, plans to become part of MaineHealth, the state’s largest health care system.

The announcement, made in a news release Monday, comes after boards at Mid Coast-Parkview and MaineHealth voted last week to approve the merger, and after Mid Coast-Parkview began formally exploring the idea in February.

At that time, Midcoast-Parkview President and CEO Lois Skillings told Mainebiz, “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.

“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.”

Since February, a committee formed by the Brunswick system has been examining the pros and cons of joining MaineHealth. As part of the process, the committee held public forums and obtained input from over 700 employees, volunteers, patients, community members and others, according to the release.

Discussion during the exploratory process resulted in a pledge from MaineHealth to honor restrictions for previously donated funds for use in the Mid Coast-Parkview service area. In addition, plans call for implementing a new shared electronic medical record system.

If the merger is approved, a local board would continue to oversee care quality, provider credentialing, local philanthropy and community relations. A member of that board would also join the MaineHealth board.

The two organizations must still perform legal due-diligence reviews and obtain state and federal regulatory approvals. In addition, the deal is subject to a vote of Mid Coast-Parkview’s corporators.

The merger has plenty of precedent. Midcoast-Parkview has been clinically affiliated with MaineHealth and its flagship tertiary care hospital, Maine Medical Center in Portland, for more than 25 years. And Midcoast-Parkview itself is the result of a 2015 merger between two rival Brunswick hospital systems, Mid Coast Health Services and Parkview Adventist Medical Center.

Many of Maine’s current three dozen hospitals have merged in recent years with large health care systems, including MaineHealth, Northern Light Health (formerly Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems) and Central Maine HealthCare. MaineHealth is northern New England’s largest system, with eight hospitals, over 19,000 employees and a patient population of 1.1 million residents.

Last week, the state Legislature approved a revision of Mayo Regional Hospital’s charter, which would pave the way for its acquisition by Northern Light, the state’s second-largest system with more than 12,000 employees. The charter change now awaits Gov. Janet Mills’s signature.

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