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Mid Coast–Parkview Health, MaineHealth Vote to Integrate

In separate votes last week, Mid Coast–Parkview Health of Brunswick and Portland-based MaineHealth agreed to move ahead with plans to have Mid Coast–Parkview Health become part of the region’s largest integrated health system.

On Thursday, June 13, the Board of Directors at Mid Coast–Parkview Health voted to proceed with joining MaineHealth. The following day, MaineHealth gave its approval to pursuing the merger, which will be subject to due diligence review, necessary state and federal regulatory approval, a vote by the Mid Coast–Parkview Health corporators, and a final, formal plan of merger.

The decision to move forward was the next step in a process that formally started in February when Mid Coast–Parkview Health announced establishment of an exploratory committee tasked with performing a comprehensive evaluation of the risks and benefits of a potential integration.

Over the course of the past four months, the committee met regularly to assess information and gather input from a wide range of community and stakeholder groups, including clinical and leadership visits to other MaineHealth organizations.

"As part of the exploratory process, we have met with more than 700 employees, medical staff, corporators, volunteers, auxilians, patients, and community members to provide them the opportunity to learn more about the process, ask questions, and provide feedback for the committee that directly influenced our discussions with MaineHealth," said Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Mid Coast–Parkview Health. "The general response from all audiences has been overwhelmingly positive. Overall, this has been a very thorough process that resulted in a recommendation that integrating will better serve the healthcare needs of the Midcoast community in the future."

Discussion during the exploratory process resulted in commitments from MaineHealth such as honoring all restrictions for previously donated funds for use in the Mid Coast–Parkview Health service area, purchasing and implementing a new shared electronic medical record system, as well as a shared commitment to continue to lower the costs of healthcare in our region. The commitment also includes support for continuation of local culture and leadership with retention of a local board that oversees care quality, credentialing of providers, local philanthropy, and community health initiatives, and also has a defined role in the budget and planning process. Additionally, if the merger is approved, a representative of the local board will be invited to join the MaineHealth Board of Directors.

Mid Coast–Parkview Health’s exploratory committee concluded at the end of their evaluation that it is in the best interests of Mid Coast–Parkview Health and its community to merge with MaineHealth in order to ensure a sustainable, affordable model for the delivery of high-quality healthcare in the Midcoast region long-term. The Mid Coast–Parkview Health board accepted the recommendation of the committee and voted to move forward in the merger process.

Mid Coast–Parkview Health has been clinically affiliated with MaineHealth and its flagship tertiary care hospital, Maine Medical Center, for more than 25 years. As cited in February, the organizations are pursuing full integration in order to create efficiencies with shared technology and resources that will enhance the care provided in the Midcoast region.

"At MaineHealth, our Maine-based hospital organizations have all come together as one so we can put the strength of the entire system behind our efforts to deliver exceptional healthcare in each community we serve," said Bill Caron, CEO of MaineHealth. "We are excited that our colleagues at Mid Coast–Parkview Health have engaged in a thoughtful, inclusive process and have reached a decision that will allow us to put our resources behind their work in the communities they serve."

With the boards in agreement, the two organizations will pursue necessary legal due diligence and regulatory approvals. In addition, the integration will be subject to a vote of Mid Coast–Parkview Health’s corporators.

"While we proceed with the due diligence and regulatory approval process, Mid Coast–Parkview Health remains focused on our mission of caring for the health of our community," said Skillings. "Just as we have for the past two decades, we will continue to collaborate with our clinical partners at MaineHealth to improve quality and lower the cost of care, and look forward to becoming more aligned with our delivery models in the months to come. With the support of our community, clinical staff, leadership, and employees, we now definitively know that this is what is best for the future of healthcare in our region."