CROWD TURNS OUT TO HEAR HOSPITAL PLAN

by Christian Mower on November 21, 2012

MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE TURNED OUT IN NORTH CONWAY MONDAY EVENING TO HEAR DETAILS ABOUT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL’S PLAN TO PURSUE MEMBERSHIP IN THE MAINEHEALTH SYSTEM.

THE HOSPITAL ANNOUNCED IN OCTOBER (2012)IT’S LOOKING INTO JOINING MAINEHEALTH, THAT INCLUDES MAINE MEDICAL CENTER IN PORTLAND – AND NEARLY A DOZEN OTHER HEALTH RELATED ORGANIZATIONS IN MAINE. MONDAY’S MEETING AT THE RED JACKET RESORT WAS THE FIRST PUBLIC INFORMATION SESSION MEMORIAL HAS HOSTED SINCE THE ANNOUNCEMENT.

MEMORIAL’S BOARD CHAIR GENE BERGOFFEN STARTED THE MEETING BY PROMISING EVERYONE’S QUESTIONS WOULD BE ANSWERED. HE COMPARED THE PROCESS GOING FORWARD AS A TRAIN LEAVING THE STATION THAT COULD TURN BACK IF THINGS DIDN’T WORK OUT.

MEMORIAL HAS SIGNED A NON-BINDING LETTER OF INTENT WITH MAINEHEALTH TO EXPLORE MEMBERSHIP AND SAYS IT WILL CONTINUE TO WORK OUT THE PLAN DETAILS – INCLUDING GETTING REGULATORY APPROVAL – OVER THE NEXT YEAR.

MEMORIAL PRESIDENT AND CEO SCOTT McKINNON SPOKE AND ANSWERED QUESTIONS FOR MOST OF THE MEETING, MAKING IT CLEAR MEMORIAL WOULD BECOME A SUBSIDIARY OF MAINEHEALTH – AND SAYING THE AFFILIATION WOULD PROVIDE MEMORIAL WITH A STRONG PARTNER THAT WOULD IMPROVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES MEMORIAL PROVIDES IN THE VALLEY.

FORMER HOSPITAL TRUSTEE GEORGE EPSTEIN – WHO RECENTLY RESIGNED BECAUSE OF HIS OPPOSITION TO THE PLAN TO JOIN MAINEHEALTH, SAID THE BOARD HAD NOT PROPERLY RESEARCHED THE SPECIFICS OF HOW JOINING MAINEHEALTH WOULD IMPACT MEMORIAL – A PROCESS CALLED “DUE DILIGENCE” – ASKING WHY THE HOSPITAL’S BOARD DID NOT CONSIDER JOINING DARTMOUTH HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER IN LEBANON OR CENTRAL MAINE MEDICAL CENTER IN LEWISTON – AND ACCUSING BOARD MEMBERS OF NOT EVEN TALKING WITH THOSE ORGANIZATIONS ABOUT POSSIBLE COORDINATION.

FORMER HOSPITAL TRUSTEE BAYARD KENNETT DIRECTLY REFUTED EPSTEIN’S CHARGES, SAYING MEMORIAL STARTED LOOKING AT ALTERNATE HOSPITALS TO PARTNER WITH BACK IN 2008 AND HAD MET WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF DARTMOUTH – WHO HAD NO PLANS FOR SMALL HOSPITAL INTEGRATION – AND WITH CENTRAL MAINE MEDICAL CENTER – WHICH OWNS BRIDGTON HOSPITAL AND WAS FOUND TO OPERATE IN A VERY “TOP DOWN” MANAGEMENT STYLE THAT CONTROLS THE SELECTION OF KEY HOSPITAL PERSONNEL.

McKINNON SAID JOINING MAINEHEALTH WILL ALLOW MEMORIAL’S BOARD TO CONTINUE IN ITS COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT ROLE WHILE HE CONTINUES TO RUN THE HOSPITAL’S DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS. HE CITED OTHER ADVANTAGES, INCLUDING GETTING ACCESS TO NEW TECHNOLOGY – INCLUDING ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS – AND PROVIDING CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION TO HIS STAFF. HE ACKNOWLEDGED MAINEHEALTH WOULD HAVE INPUT ON OPERATIONS AT MEMORIAL, INCLUDING ITS BUDGET, LOCAL SERVICES AND SELECTION OF THE CEO.

TWO CURRENT DOCTORS AND A FORMER DOCTOR AT MEMORIAL SPOKE ENTHUSIASTICALLY IN SUPPORT OF MEMORIAL’S PLAN, CITING THE QUALITY OF CARE THEY HAVE FOUND MAINEHEALTH PROVIDES. MEMORIAL SAYS NEARLY 90 PERCENT OF ITS INPATIENT REFERRALS TO ANOTHER FACILITY ALREADY GO TO A MAINEHEALTH ORGANIZATION.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS ASKED ABOUT MEDICAL RECORDS AND WHETHER THE NEW RELATIONSHIP WOULD CHANGE MEMORIAL’S RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCAL CLINICS.

BERGOFFEN SAID MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE PROPOSED PLAN WILL BE POSTED ON THE HOSPITAL’S WEBSITE AT www.memorialhospitalnh.org – INCLUDING DETAILS OF FINANCIAL PARTICULARS AND MORE ANSWERS TO SOME OF EPSTEIN’S QUESTIONS – AND THAT THE HOSPITAL WILL HOLD AT LEAST ONE MORE PUBLIC MEETING DURING THE PROCESS TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION. KENNETT RECOMMENDED PEOPLE VIEW THE WEBSITE AT www.mainehealth.com aND CLICK ON “INTEGRATED HEALTH SYSTEM.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nancy Achenbach November 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Joining Mainhealth, Maine Medical Center, will immensely improve the quality of health in North Conway. I travel to Maine Medical Center for most of my care. I worked at Maine Medical Center in the operating room. Mainehealth, Maine Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the northeast. I have worked at other hospitals, but none come close to the quality, caring attitude and skill at Maine Medical Center.

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