Parkview bankruptcy: Reorganization of Brunswick hospital relies on Mid Coast merger, shuns Lewiston partner

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BRUNSWICK — Parkview Adventist Medical Center on Tuesday filed a petition for bankruptcy protection that rests on a proposed takeover by the parent company of Mid Coast Hospital.

Citing “years of change in the health care industry and increasing financial challenges,” the nonprofit hospital filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland for a “pre-packaged” Chapter 11 reorganization.

Parkview cited steadily declining emergency department and inpatient volume, and rising health-care costs, as reasons for its financial instability.

Under the plan, Parkview’s campus would be retained for physician practices, a walk-in clinic and some lab and surgery services. All inpatient and emergency services would be moved to the Mid Coast Hospital campus, 123 Medical Center Drive, at Cook’s Corner.

“Mid Coast is well suited to pick up this business and combine forces,” said George Marcus, the bankruptcy attorney for Parkview.

“There will be no interruption in patient care or service to the community,” he said.

Parkview is a major employer in the Brunswick area, with 196 employees, according to a press release. The hospital said its reorganization plan with Mid Coast will allow it to preserve all full- and part-time jobs.

Marcus said the hospital’s debts to creditors will be primarly paid from selling the hospital to Mid Coast Health Services, allowing Parkview to retain all of its staff.

Parkview listed more than $1 million in claims owed to its 20 largest unsecured creditors. Some contracts will be transferred to Mid Coast, but others will be terminated, according to Marcus.

The hospital’s court filing Tuesday said it decided on the merger with Mid Coast because its existing contracted services with Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare were unsustainable.

“The Debtor, in its business judgment, believes that these contracts are financially unsupportable and that they can no longer be maintained if the Debtor is to fulfill its health care mission,” the filing said.

Central Maine had previously tried to take over operations of Parkview, but withdrew its application in 2013. It said state regulators were “not playing fair.”

That plan was strongly opposed by Mid Coast. The Brunswick-based health-care provider even filed a competing takeover request with the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Now, Parkview plans to end its relationship with Central Maine Healthcare, which includes contracts for emergency medical and other services, and merge with Mid Coast.

“The Debtor believes that termination of the current relationship with (Central Maine), and the collaboration with … Mid Coast as set forth herein, is a sound exercise of the Debtor’s business judgment,” Parkview said in its filing.

According to the same filing, Parkview will immediately transtion to Brunswick-based, privately owned EMS provider Bluewater Emergency Partners, and terminate its contract with Central Maine.

Still at issue, however, is an $8.6 million loan CMHC made to Parkview before the Lewiston organization withdrew its acquisition application.

Marcus wrote in a court filing Tuesday that Parkview intends to dispute CMHC’s position as a secured debtor, because a proper security interest wasn’t transferred to the Lewiston health group by Parkview’s board of directors, as required by state law.

“Central Maine Healthcare leadership had no prior knowledge of this transaction; we found out this morning via emails from our employees working at Parkview,” said CMHC spokesman Chuck Gill Tuesday.

“We are carefully reviewing all of our contracts and our legal options to protect the interests of Central Maine Healthcare,” he added.

Parkview will close its emergency department and acute inpatient care at 329 Maine St. on Thursday night, June 18. It will still operate an “ambulatory clinic” with Bluewater after that date.

On Tuesday afternoon, administrators at Mid Coast held a meeting with staff to prepare them for the increased traffic.

“We are confident that the Mid Coast campus will meet all of the acute care needs of our region, including emergency care,” Mid Coast spokesman Steve Trockman said in an interview. He added that the hospital has a new, “state-of-the-art” emergency department on its Brunswick campus.

“Considering its extreme financial condition, Parkview Adventist Medical Center sought out Mid Coast Health to address the challenges of providing care for our community,” Trockman said. “Our combined strength through a common vision will serve as an example of how community leaders can come together to solve problems.”

Trockman declined to discuss whether Parkview’s emergency staff would immediately be transferred to Mid Coast after its clinic closes Thursday night.

In initial court documents Parkview listed assets and liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

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Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.