A successful merger will keep Mayo Regional Hospital operational

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To the Editor;
I recently attended the community forum held in Guilford by Mayo Regional Hospital to inform citizens about the proposal to merge with Northern Light Health. I listened carefully to the presentation by the delegates from Mayo Hospital and Northern Light Health and their responses to questions posed by several citizens at the meeting. I’ve also visited the informational website provided by the hospital. After carefully considering all the possibilities, it seems clear that the bottom line for this situation is that without the merger of Mayo Hospital with Northern Light Health, we will lose our local hospital — a prospect that we can ill afford. A successful merger will keep the hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and provide a more secure future for local health care in our region.

It has not been a secret that the financial health of Mayo Hospital has been in a downward spiral for years. Most members of the citizen-elected Hospital Administrative District (HAD) 4 Board have been sounding the alarm, warning us that if the hospital continues on its current path, it will fail. This prospect is frightening. Our region cannot afford to lose our local hospital. Mayo Hospital is a major employer. Its closing would add yet another devastating loss to a population that has suffered the closing of many of the area’s major employers. Mayo Hospital offers a necessary foundation that helps support a healthy structure, along with our schools and key businesses, which is essential for attracting people to our region. More importantly, losing Mayo Hospital would end local emergency medical care, as well as routine medical tests and procedures. Those with limited financial resources, the increasing elderly population, people with chronic illnesses, families without reliable transportation, women having babies, people with medical emergencies — we will all have to travel to Bangor, at the very least, if Mayo Hospital is closed. As someone at the Guilford forum said, “Lives are at stake,” if the hospital at our backdoor disappears.

The proposed partnership of Mayo Hospital with Northern Light Health will offer a series of positive opportunities. First, the merger will put the hospital on a stable financial footing. It was satisfying to hear that Northern Light Health is committed to quality over volume; they emphasized the value of a personal connection with each patient. The hospital will be able to offer a far better recruitment package that will attract and keep much needed medical personnel. The merger will allow our area to have a larger availability of services and skilled medical expertise. Most importantly, the merger will enable our hospital to stay open and local.

I understand that some people are cautious about losing local control of the assets of Mayo Hospital. On its current path, without the merger, Mayo Hospital is already guaranteed to lose those assets through eventual bankruptcy. With the merger, Mayo’s assets will be combined with the larger, more stable assets of Northern Light Health. I am very willing to turn over the reins through a merger, knowing that the very real alternative is the total loss of our local hospital through financial ruin. Our region needs a local hospital, not a thirty-plus mile drive to emergency and/or routine medical care. We cannot afford to allow Mayo Hospital to close.

So what are the next steps? I encourage people to get the facts, rather than relying on hearsay and fearful rumors. Visit the informational website www.mayohospitalfacts.com Attend the final community forum on Thursday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Penquis Valley High School gym to get answers to your own questions. Weigh the alternatives carefully. Stay tuned to your own town’s call for a special vote regarding the merger.

I am willing to put trust in the years of work done by the HAD 4 board and Mayo Hospital leadership team who explored many options and finally designed a merger with Northern Light Health. They want to save our local hospital. I support this merger, not only for my own safety and peace of mind, but for a positive future for our region.

Dyan McCarthy-Clark

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