Hearing set on merger of Brunswick, Lewiston hospitals

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BRUNSWICK — Before the Maine Department of Health and Human Services holds a public hearing on the proposed merger of Parkview Adventist Medical Center and Central Maine Healthcare of Lewiston later this month, Mid Coast Hospital will hold its own forum to appeal to the community.

“We are facing a time when rising health-care costs are breaking the backs of local, state, and federal budgets. CMHC’s plan will drive up our health-care costs,” Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Mid Coast, said in a prepared statement. “… It is not in the best interest of the people of this region, especially at a point in our history when health-care experts around the country are recommending that there be fewer hospitals.”

After CMMC submitted a certificate of need to DHHS for the proposed merger, Mid Coast Hospital sent their own, according to the Bangor Daily News, but DHHS said Mid Coast’s request was “not subject to review.”

“DHHS cannot and will not review the submission on a competitive basis with the submission received by the department from Central Maine Healthcare on Aug. 29, 2012,” wrote Larry Carbonneau, manager of DHHS’s Health Care Oversight Program, according to a letter provided to the Bangor Daily News.

Steven Trockman, spokesman for Mid Coast, told the Bangor Daily News last week that a new amendment to the Certificate of Need Act that passed the Legislature earlier in the year will require CMMC to demonstrate a public necessity for Parkview’s takeover. He said it will require DHHS to take into account “lower-cost alternatives that meet the community’s health care needs.”

DHHS will hold a public hearing for the proposed merger between Parkview and CMMC at 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at the Knights of Columbus building, 2 Columbus Drive.

“The purpose of this hearing is to allow the Applicant, other persons directly affected by the application and the public to have an opportunity to present information, documentary evidence, arguments, and comments questioning the documentation presented or raise issues and/or concerns to be considered by the Department on this proposal,” according to a notice from the DHHS.

Before that happens, Mid Coast will hold a community forum to discuss their own proposal to merge with Parkview. That will happen at the Mid Coast Hospital Cafe and Conference Rooms, 123 Medical Center Drive, from 5:30 p.m.-7 on Monday, Oct. 15.

“Mid Coast Hospital has a proposal that will help our community preserve local control of its health-care services,” according to a statement from Mid Coast. “We would like to work with Parkview Adventist Medical Center to strengthen health care in our community.”

The president and CEO of Mid Coast will host the meeting and provide a look at what Mid Coast believes could happen to the community, according to the statement. The hospital will also solicit feedback from those who attend.

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