Four more towns vote to approve Mayo merger with Northern Light Health

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Citizens in Guilford, Parkman, Atkinson, and Sebec all voted Monday night in favor of moving forward with a merger between Mayo Regional Hospital and Northern Light Health. Guilford residents voted 48-4, Parkman residents voted 14-5, Atkinson residents voted 8-0 and Sebec residents voted 29-13, all in favor of the merger at special town meetings held Monday evening.

“Quality local care is just as important as good schools and good roads for people in rural Maine,” said Mayo Regional Hospital president and CEO Marie Vienneau. “The votes that were cast tonight in four of the thirteen communities represented by Hospital Administrative District 4 are very important to the overall conversation about rural health care. It’s a very strong signal that quality care close to home is something that people in this region feel very strongly about. We believe that the votes in favor of this merger is another step in the right direction to ensure that care remains available in Piscataquis County.”

The four town’s votes Monday night are the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th out of 13 communities. Dexter’s Town Council unanimously approved the merger earlier in the month by a vote of 7-0. Monson, Abbot, Bradford, Milo, Dover-Foxcroft and Willimantic voters all approved the merger at their own town meetings. Cambridge is the only town to have voted against the merger so far. The remaining town to vote is Sangerville, with a town meeting scheduled for Tuesday night.

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.

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