December 8, 2017

Plan to unify MaineHealth by early 2019 advances

A plan to put all 10 MaineHealth member organizations under a single board of trustees and a unified financial structure moved closer to the finish line with Thursday's approval from the system-wide board of trustees. It follows votes at individual member organizations.

Not yet a done deal, the plan is still subject to a due diligence review by MaineHealth and a regulatory review in New Hampshire related to Memorial Hospital of North Conway.

MaineHealth said that assuming there's a green light from regulators and no unexpected findings in due diligence, its 10 members will be governed by a single entity starting in January 2019.

Susannah Swihart, chair of MaineHealth's board of trustees, said that MaineHealth had initiated the dialogue about the change out of concern for community hospitals in the system.

"In recent years many community hospitals in Maine, New Hampshire and across the country have struggled financially," she said in a statement.

MaineHealth said in the announcement that that a unified governance model would allow resources to flow across the system, better supporting the delivery of care in local communities. It also said that the proposal includes a "significant ongoing role" for local boards, including formulating budgets and strategic plans, credentialing of physicians and other providers as well as oversight of care quality.

MaineHealth is Northern New England's largest health care system, with member and affiliate hospitals throughout southern, western and central Maine as well as Carroll County, New Hampshire.


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