Opinion

An update from HAD 4 Board Executive Committee on plan for Mayo to enter into a new agreement with Northern Light Health

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To the Editor;
There has been some discussion lately about the ongoing process of Mayo Regional Hospital’s plan to enter into a new agreement with Northern Light Health (formerly EMHS or Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems). We wanted to take the opportunity to provide an update and further clarification, because we understand as the region’s healthcare provider and largest employer, our future affects many, if not all, members of the community.

While this process has been underway for nearly four years, the discussion began almost ten years ago when our board (Hospital Administrative District 4) started a discussion about possible affiliation with a healthcare system as part of a broader strategic planning conversation for Mayo Regional Hospital. Changes in technology and healthcare force us – and other smaller hospitals – to review how we work and look for opportunities to improve. The conversation escalated in 2013, with an official exploration of options starting in January of 2015. Letters were sent to multiple institutions regarding potential affiliations in 2016. Our board approved the signing of a letter of intent with EMHS (Northern Light Health) in July of 2016.

Since then, our board and executive committee have engaged in many assessments, planning sessions, education sessions, and negotiations with EMHS/Northern Light Health. Like any board or government organization, negotiations have been handled by the board’s executive committee in deliberation with legal counsel, and with professional outside consultation. The full board has voted to approve various steps of the process including interim affiliation agreements as far back as March of 2017. For the most part, these board votes have been unanimous because we agree that the top priority for Mayo Regional Hospital is to ensure quality healthcare for the people in the communities we serve.

We are already seeing benefits from our relationship with Northern Light Health. We’ve credentialed new providers from Cancer Care of Maine for our Oncology program, we have OB/GYN services in Piscataquis County through this relationship, and Podiatry surgery is now being offered at Mayo Regional.

It is – and always has been – our intent to retain and even expand access to as many clinical services as possible locally. If we did not take advantage of this opportunity to ensure quality care, close to home, we would be doing our region a disservice.

The process is evolving, but our board is made up of local residents working to make sure Mayo Regional Hospital is well positioned for years to come. We welcome any questions you might have, and look forward to the future of this hospital.

HAD 4 Board Executive Committee
Amanda Thomas, chair
Richard Cabot, MD, vice chair
Jensen Bissell, treasurer
Stephanie Doore, secretary
Barbara Austin, member-at-large

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