Central Maine Healthcare: Mid Coast 'stalks' Parkview

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BRUNSWICK — A spokesman for Central Maine Healthcare of Lewiston, which hopes to take over Parkview Adventist Medical Center, this week characterized Mid Coast Hospital as “stalking” its Brunswick competition.

“It’s a weird, weird thing where one organization can’t take no for an answer and just continues to stalk the other one,” Chuck Gill, vice president of public affairs for CMHC, said on Monday. “I have never seen this in my career before.”

Gill spoke in advance of the Department of Health and Human Services public hearing on Wednesday for CMHC’s Certificate of Need to take over Parkview.

“We’ve said this repeatedly, but it’s important for the public to understand that what we’re talking about is, we’re not buying Parkview, we’re not spending any dollars, we’re not adding services,” Gill said. “What we’re talking about is basically a paper transaction. It’s a change of the bylaws in articles of corporation for Parkview to become a part of our system. … It’s a common occurrence in Maine.”

A DHHS decision is expected to be made within several weeks.

Gill said Mid Coast wants to monopolize health care in the community by closing Parkview. He also questioned Mid Coast’s desire to consolidate the two hospitals, asserting it was Mid Coast that has created the excess capacity.

“Parkview hasn’t expanded their capacity,” Gill said. “It’s interesting. It’s like the child that murders their parents, then wants to throw themselves on the mercy of the court because they’re an orphan. It’s amazing that they would talk about capacity (after building more).”

In response to Gill’s allegtions, Mid Coast spokesman Steven Trockman said “this is not about extinguishing a competitor.”

“This is about our community only having the population to support a single consolidated acute-care hospital,” Trockman said. “We keep pushing for consolidation because it is the only way to achieve significant savings for our community. If CMHC is allowed to own Parkview, it will trigger a medical arms race that will not be good for our community.”

On Gill’s comments about Mid Coast’s expanded capacity, Trockman said the creation of Mid Coast, which was formed in 2001 in the merger of Bath Memorial Hospital and Regional Memorial Hospital, has saved millions of dollars per year.

“Mid Coast is one of lowest cost and highest quality community hospitals in Maine as a result,” Trockman said. “The most recent expansion was in 2009, and was driven by unprecedented demand for our services by members of our community.”

“I think it’s unfortunate that this has come to this. It’s unfortunate that it’s become Mid Coast versus Parkview,” Trockman said. “This is really simply about opposing CMHC’s proposed takeover of Parkview.”

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.