Bradford residents vote in favor of Mayo Regional Hospital merger with Northern Light Health
BRADFORD – Citizens in Bradford voted in favor of moving forward with a merger between Mayo Regional Hospital and Northern Light Health. Bradford residents voted 20-1 in favor of the merger at a special town meeting on April 22.
“This vote represents the next step in a process that has been underway for more than five years,” said Mayo Regional Hospital President and CEO Marie Vienneau. “We are hopeful for more town votes like this so our legislative delegation can move forward with legislation to change the charter for our Hospital Administrative District and ensure sustainable quality care, close to home for the people of Piscataquis County.”
Because Mayo Regional Hospital is owned and operated as a Hospital Administrative District, its board is made up of members who are elected by the communities served by the hospital. HAD 4 is the only HAD left in Maine and is a quasi-governmental agency with taxing power. The effect of the merger would be to transform the HAD into a Maine charitable tax-exempt nonprofit corporation that would have a community-based board but would not have taxing authority. This would relieve the towns in the HAD from potential liability for the certain indebtedness of the hospital.
Bradford’s vote is the third out of 13 communities. Dexter’s Town Council unanimously approved the merger earlier in the month by a vote of 7-0, and Cambridge voted 22-12 against the merger at an April 20 special town meeting.
The remaining 10 communities have mostly scheduled votes prior to April 30, although there is legislation being considered in Augusta that would mandate votes for all 13 communities to be held prior to May 7. The next vote is scheduled Tuesday night, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Milo Town Hall.
“The people of this region depend on this hospital,” Vienneau said. “Small, rural hospitals have been facing the same challenges nationwide, and we certainly are not immune in Maine. However, we have a solution thanks to careful planning and due diligence. Northern Light Health is an excellent partner for hospitals throughout Maine, and Mayo Regional Hospital’s path forward is much brighter if this merger is approved.”
More details about the issue and votes can be found at www.MayoHospitalFacts.com.