HOSPITAL HOLDS ANOTHER MERGER MEETING

by Christian Mower on April 11, 2013

NORTH CONWAY’S MEMORIAL HOSPITAL WILL HOLD ANOTHER PUBLIC MEETING THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 11, 2013 TO EXPLAIN – AND TAKE QUESTIONS ABOUT – ITS PLAN TO MERGE WITH MAINEHEALTH.

THE HOSPITAL HELD A SIMILAR MEETING IN NOVEMBER, 2012 AFTER ANNOUNCING IT WAS PURSUING MEMBERSHIP IN THE PORTLAND-BASED NOT-FOR-PROFIT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM THAT INCLUDES MAINE MEDICAL CENTER AND A NEARLY A DOZEN OTHER HOSPITALS AND HEALTH-RELATED ORGANIZATIONS IN MAINE.

AT THE NOVEMBER MEETING, MEMORIAL PRESIDENT AND CEO SCOTT McKINNON SAID MAINEHEALTH WILL BECOME THE PARENT ORGANIZATION OF MEMORIAL AND PROVIDE A STRATEGIC PARTNER TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE IN THE MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY.

McKINNON SAYS THE MAJORITY OF MEMORIAL’S OUTPATIENT REFERRALS – AND NEARLY 90 PERCENT OF ITS INPATIENT REFERRALS, ALREADY GO TO A MAINEHEALTH ORGANIZATION, PRIMARILY MAINE MEDICAL CENTER. HE EXPECTS THE HOSPITAL’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ITS DOCTORS, NURSES AND STAFF TO REMAIN BASICALLY THE SAME.

THE MAINEHEALTH BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVED THE MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT IN EARLY APRIL, 2013.

FORMER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL TRUSTEE GEORGE EPSTEIN SEEMS TO BE THE MOST VOCAL OPPONENT OF THE MERGER PLAN. AT NOVEMBER’S PUBLIC MEETING, HE SAID MEMORIAL’S BOARD HAD NOT PROPERLY RESEARCHED THE SPECIFICS OF THE IMPACT OF JOINING MAINEHEALTH – ASKING WHY THE HOSPITAL’S BOARD DID NOT CONSIDER JOINING DARTMOUTH HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER OR CENTRAL MAINE MEDICAL CENTER – WHILE SAYING BOARD MEMBERS DID NOT EVEN TALK WITH THOSE ORGANIZATIONS ABOUT IT.

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 MED. – WHICH OWNS BRIDGTON HOSPITAL – AND WAS FOUND TO OPERATE IN A VERY “TOP DOWN” MANAGEMENT STYLE THAT CONTROLS THE SELECTION OF KEY HOSPITAL PERSONNEL.

FOLLOWING THURSDAY’S PUBLIC SESSION, THE AGREEMENT WILL BE SUBMITTED TO THE NEW HAMPSHIRE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR REVIEW. A FINAL AGREEMENT WITH MAINEHEALTH COULD BE REACHED SOMETIME THIS SUMMER.

THURSDAY’S MEETING STARTS AT 5:30 P.M. AT THE RED JACKET MOUNTAIN VIEW RESORT IN NORTH CONWAY. AN INSERT EXPLAINING THE PLAN WAS DISTRIBUTED SATURDAY IN THE CONWAY DAILY SUN. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND ON THE HOSPITAL’S WEBSITE AT www.memorialhospitalnh.org.

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