Dexter, other hospital communities await more information on potential merger

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DEXTER — Directors from Dexter and the other dozen communities making up HAD 4 are awaiting negotiation details between officials with Mayo Regional Hospital and Northern Light Health on a potential merger of the Dover-Foxcroft facility serving the region with the statewide healthcare system, the town council learned during a Feb. 14 meeting.

“Right now we have Jim Willey (of Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman) leading negotiations and sorting things out and figuring what’s what,” Dexter HAD 4 director Mark McNaughton said. “Right now it’s really at a standstill.”

McNaughton said he intends to report at the council’s monthly meetings during the merger negotiation process.

Hospital officials have said they believe the best path forward for Mayo Regional Hospital and citizens of HAD 4 is to merge and integrate with Northern Light Health in such a way that delivers high quality and competitively priced patient care, and at the same time keeps local governance in place to represent the needs of the communities. Those involved said they support the integration plan so Mayo Regional Hospital can continue to fulfill its mission and serve the region in the future.

Mayo Regional Hospital officials have expressed interest in holding public meetings once more information has been finalized and is ready to share.

McNaughton said the councilors may have heard how Mayo Regional Hospital’s Guilford Medical Associates will be closing in April — significant provider turnover in the past year and a half is the reason cited for the shuttering of the practice. He said if they have know of any patients of Guilford Medical Associations then please pass along news of the closure so they can look for another provider.

In other business, Town Manager Trampas King said he has been meeting with First Free Baptist Church Pastor Andrew Bermudez to plan for the Colorado-based Group Workcamps Foundation’s Group Mission Trips being in town from July 21-27. The organization will help eligible residents of the Dexter area make needed home repairs at no cost through the work of hundreds of volunteers staying in the community.

“We have got 84 homes right now that have done the process, we want 25-30 more,” King said. He said some applications may not be approved for the program, as ideally the project total would be about 100 for the estimated 445 volunteers coming to Dexter from around the country.

The town manager said he also recently met with Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Director Denise Buzzelli. “Just to give everybody a heads up, we are looking to do some work with them,” King said.

He also said the Dexter Revitalization Committee would like to fund a new “Welcome to Dexter” sign or multiple signs. “They would like to do a least a sign coming into town by P&L,” King said about Route 7. He said the committee would also be promoting its annual Maine Red Hot Dog Festival with a smaller sign attached to the welcome message.

Various sign options will be considered. “If the Dexter Revitalization Committee would like to do this for us it would be a great thing for Dexter,” King said.

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