Project Updates

2017

POSTED:DECEMBER 18, 2017  |   10:30 AM

MMC Submit Level III Site Plan Application for East Tower and Visitor Garage Expansion

Maine Medical Center is pleased to announce the Level III Site Plan application to add 64 private universal patient rooms to the East Tower, move the helipad, and expand the visitor garage. The Level III site plan application and the supporting materials are available using the links below.

MMC is planning a neighborhood meeting in early January to share details about the project.


POSTED:DECEMBER 12, 2017  |   1:18 PM

MMC Receives City Approval for Zoning Change

MMC recently received two important approvals from the City Of Portland.


POSTED:SEPTEMBER 28, 2017  |   3:23 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Porter
207-329-8594 / jporter1@mainehealth.org

Maine Medical Center expansion earns state approval

The project also took a step forward in the City of Portland’s review process.

PORTLAND, Maine – State regulators this week granted final approval to the proposed $512 million expansion and renovation project at Maine Medical Center. The project also cleared the first step in the City of Portland’s review process at a meeting of the Planning Board on Tuesday evening.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has issued a Certificate of Need (CON) for the project, the major milestone in the state’s regulatory review process. State regulators had issued a preliminary finding in support of the project in August, and Acting DHHS Commissioner Ricker Hamilton issued final approval in a letter dated Sept. 26.

“There has never been a doubt about the clinical need for this project. It has been clear to all that we need to expand and modernize to provide the best possible care for our patients,” said MMC President and CEO Richard Petersen. “We are very appreciative of the deliberative and professional work done by the state’s Certificate of Need Unit. “

The expansion project also moved forward with the City of Portland. On Tuesday, the Planning Board gave its approval to a new planning and regulatory framework for MMC’s main campus. That framework now goes to the City Council.

The city process has been marked by a thoughtful and ongoing dialogue among MMC, neighborhood representatives and city officials. Based on feedback from neighbors, MMC has made modifications to the parking plan for the project, eliminating the need to build a 13-story garage on Congress Street, and instead moving employee parking to a parcel on St. John Street.

“Working with the city and its staff, with representatives from each of our local neighborhood groups and other stakeholders, we have improved our original plan and created a solution that will serve the needs of our patients, our community and all of Maine,” said Jeff Sanders, MMC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

MMC officials say the need for the project in Portland is being driven by a combination of aging infrastructure and evolving standards of medical care.

Buildings on the hospital’s main campus date to the late 1800s, and more than half the patient rooms are in buildings more than 40 years old, with some in buildings nearly 80 years old. In some cases – as with the existing employee parking garage – facilities have simply reached the end of their useful life.

Adding to the hospital’s challenges is the changing nature of modern medicine. Single patient rooms are now the standard, and across the country any new hospital room that is built is “private.” This is because many of the less-complex procedures formerly performed in hospitals are now done on an out-patient basis. What this means is that the patients admitted to a hospital today are, on average, sicker than those in the past. Every day at MMC it is necessary to close beds in double, or semi-private, rooms because so many patients are just too sick to have roommates.

The hospital also needs newer, larger rooms for surgeries and other complex procedures to accommodate rapidly evolving technology.

In response to these needs, MMC plans to add 128 single patient rooms and 19 modern procedure rooms to its main campus. MMC also plans to replace the existing employee parking garage with a new one off of St. John Street. The project would create a new main entrance for the hospital facing onto Congress Street.

“This project is vital to our ability to continue to offer great, world-class care to the community,” said Joel Botler, senior vice president and chief medical officer at MMC. “Medicine is changing, and today Maine Medical Center plays a vital role caring for the most acutely ill patients. We are excited that this project is moving forward because it will allow us to continue to excel in that role.”

MMC officials expect the Portland City Council to take up the new planning and regulatory framework in November and they are hopeful that the city can then review the construction plans ahead of a March 2018 groundbreaking. Construction is expected to take approximately four years.


About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-2018, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1864, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 7,500 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.

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POSTED:SEPTEMBER 25, 2017  |   11:45 AM

City of Portland Planning Board Hearing – Tuesday, Sept. 26

At 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Maine Medical Center will present its Institutional Development Plan (IDP) to the Portland Planning Board at 6:30 pm. A copy of the IDP and other submitted materials is available on the Portland City website (click here to access downloadable materials). The hearing is open to the public. Members of the public are welcome to submit comment.


POSTED:SEPTEMBER 11, 2017  |   4:00 PM

Neighborhood Meeting: September 19, 2017

Dear Neighbor:

Please join us for the final neighborhood meeting to discuss our plans for a replacement and modernization project at Maine Medical Center’s 22 Bramhall Street location.

MMC will present its Institutional Development Plan and Regulatory Framework. Time will be reserved for Questions and Answers.

Meeting Location:  Dana Center Auditorium (Entrance directly across the street from 7 Bramhall St.)
Meeting Date:  September 19, 2017
Meeting Time:  5:30 – 7:00 PM


POSTED:JULY 31, 2017  |   1:15 PM

City of Portland Planning Board Workshop – Tuesday, Aug. 8

From 4:30 pm to 6 pm (estimated time) the Portland Planning Board will meet to review and discuss Maine Medical Center’s proposed Institutional Development Plan (IDP) and draft regulatory framework, which guides the hospital’s future development within zoning code. The IDP is proposed under the institutional Overlay Zone Ordinance.

The hearing and workshop are open to the public. Members of the public are welcome to submit comment.

Location: Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 389 Congress St.


POSTED:JUNE 22, 2017  |   2:15 PM

City of Portland Planning Board Workshop – Tuesday, June 27

From 4:30-5:30 pm on Tuesday, June 27 the City of Portland Planning Board Meeting will host a workshop to examine MMC’s Institutional Development Plan and regulatory Framework. The Board will hold a workshop on key chapters (including design) of the Maine Medical Center’s proposed Institutional Development Plan (IDP) and the draft Regulatory Framework, which guides the hospital’s future development within the zoning code. The IDP is proposed under the Institutional Overlay Zone Ordinance.

The hearing and workshop are open to the public. Members of the public are welcome to submit comment.

Location: Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 389 Congress St.


POSTED:JUNE 14, 2017  |   8:00 AM

DHHS to Host Certificate of Need Public Hearing

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14 the Maine Department of Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing regarding MMC’s application to invest $392 million to increase the hospital’s effective capacity through the replacement and modernization of its clinical facilitates and infrastructure. The public hearing will be held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland (88 Spring St, Portland, ME 04101). The hearing will be facilitated by the State and the agenda will include opportunity for public comments (limited to 3 minutes per speaker).


POSTED:APRIL 14, 2017  |   10:20 AM

City of Portland Review of MMC Institutional development Plan

MMC’s Institutional Development Plan will be discussed at a Portland Planning Board Workshop on April 25, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers.


POSTED:APRIL 14, 2017  |   10:15 AM

MMC to host Certificate of Need Public Hearing

From 2:30 pm to 5 pm on Thursday, April 20 at the Dana Center Auditorium at 22 Bramhall Street from, Maine Medical Center will host representatives from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the public as it presents its plans to invest $392 million to increase the hospital’s effective capacity through the replacement and modernization of its clinical facilitates and infrastructure. This includes increasing the number of single patient rooms and the construction of 19 universal procedure rooms. No new licensed beds have been requested as part of the project.

Members of the public are invited to attend and ask questions about the project.


POSTED:MARCH 17, 2017  |   12:55 PM

Maine Medical Center submits application for state approval of $512 million project

The renovation and expansion project will address a chronic shortage of beds and modernize treatment facilities at the state’s largest medical center

Portland, Maine – Maine Medical Center announced today that it has filed a Certificate of Need (CON) with the State of Maine for its planned $512 million renovation and expansion project.

The state requires CON approval for all major investments in healthcare infrastructure. For this project, which was announced last fall, approximately $392 million of the investment Maine Medical Center is proposing is subject to review by state regulators.

“We are confident the Department of Health and Human Services’ Certificate of Need Unit will see that this investment is vital to our continuing ability to provide world-class care to those who choose the state’s largest major medical center,” said Rich Petersen, president and chief executive officer.

The balance of project costs not eligible for CON review includes approximately $50 million to be invested in outpatient facilities and another $70 million in non-clinical construction, primarily replacement of a large parking garage that has reached the end of its useful life.

In its application, Maine Medical Center detailed its role as the state’s leading provider of tertiary care. It noted that, as the Maine institution that treats patients with the most complex illnesses, it is seeing growth in both the volume and acuity of its cases.

“With the median age in Maine ranking as the highest in the nation, demand for services – especially those regarded as tertiary – is expected to continue to grow,” said the application. “Meanwhile, technology and evolving care standards are driving patients with more complex conditions to higher volume, tertiary care hospitals such as Maine Medical Center.

“The end result is that Maine Medical Center’s Case Mix Index, which is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) measure of how complex cases are at a given institution, is rising steadily. Admissions are also growing. Put simply, Maine Medical Center is seeing more patients, and those patients are sicker than those of the past. As the hospital with the largest market share of tertiary and non-tertiary patients in Maine, these trends are especially pronounced for Maine Medical Center.”

The application goes on to explain that these trends are impacting the hospital in a number of significant ways. 

At the core of the need for the project is the fact that today many of Maine Medical Center’s patients require a private room, yet much of the hospital’s aging infrastructure includes double, or semi-private, rooms for patients.

“Many of the patients treated at Maine Medical Center today are simply too sick to have a roommate,” said the application. “This, combined with concerns such as matching patients in semi-private rooms by gender, on a typical day leads to 60 or more bed closures. Capacity is further strained because many licensed beds are set aside for a specific purpose, notably critical and intermediate care beds that can’t be made available outside of those needs.”

As a result, Maine Medical Center is experiencing a chronic shortage of available patient beds. The ongoing adult bed shortage frequently backs up Maine Medical Center’s Emergency Department, and the hospital has to carefully manage transfer requests from other hospitals, prioritizing the sickest patients and often leaving others waiting for an extended period of time for an open bed.

To address this, the project calls for the addition of 128 “universal” beds that can flex among standard, intermediate and critical care.

“This will go a long way toward addressing the capacity issues we are having,” said Petersen. “Single rooms are now the standard for hospitals because the patients we see today are much sicker on average than in the past.”

The application also pointed out that facilities for surgeries and other procedures are also under stress at Maine Medical Center, part of a larger challenge that comes with buildings that are nearing the end of their useful life.

“The vast majority of procedure rooms at the hospital are more than 30 years old. These facilities do not conform to current new building standards of size – they are about two-thirds the size of modern rooms – and supportive infrastructure such as prep and recovery bays, family waiting rooms and sterilization facilities are not properly suited to meet patient needs in the future,” the application said. “The project includes 19 appropriately-sized universal procedure rooms that can accommodate the latest technology as well as facilities that will better support pre- and post-operative care.”

The application details how current trends are likely to drive more patients to Maine Medical Center in coming years, something expected to happen with or without the expansion project. That growth is reflected in projected financial results, said the application, and that in turn should help to minimize the impact of the project on the hospital’s budget and pricing.

“Projected price increases associated with the project will largely reflect what has been requested in recent fiscal years from commercial insurers,” said the application. “However, modest incremental price increases above and beyond those sought in recent years will be necessary.”

Maine Medical Center plans to pay for the project through a combination of borrowed funds, reserves and philanthropy. Overall, said Petersen, the project’s impact on Maine Medical Center’s budget will be much smaller than other factors such as the fact that federal Medicare and Medicaid payments do not cover the full cost of delivering care under those programs.

“And though it is hard to calculate, there is definitely a cost associated with not doing this project,” said Petersen. “Our staff does an amazing job delivering world-class care in an outdated facility, but we lose efficiency when we have to work around those constraints. This project will support the great work that is done at Maine Medical Center and bring real value to our patients and the communities we serve.”


POSTED:March 14, 2017  |   12:15 PM

Neighborhood Meeting: March 21, 2017

Dear Neighbor:

Please join us for the second neighborhood meeting to discuss our plans for a replacement and modernization project at Maine Medical Center’s 22 Bramhall Street location.

MMC will present its draft Institutional Development Plan and Regulatory Framework.

City representatives will be attending to discuss the Institutional Overlay Zone language. Time will be reserved for Questions and Answers.

Meeting Location:  Dana Center Auditorium (Entrance directly across the street from 7 Bramhall St.)
Meeting Date:  January 12, 2017
Meeting Time:  6:00 – 7:30 PM


POSTED:JANUARY 4, 2017  |   1:00 PM

Neighborhood Meeting: January 12, 2017

Dear Neighbor:

Please join us for a neighborhood meeting to discuss our plans for a replacement and modernization project at Maine Medical Center’s 22 Bramhall Street location.

City Planning staff will explain the planning process, MMC will provide an overview of its project needs and approach. Time will be reserved for Questions and Answers.

Meeting Location:  Dana Center Auditorium (Entrance directly across the street from 7 Bramhall St.)
Meeting Date:  January 12, 2017
Meeting Time:  6:00 – 8:00 PM

** Neighbors are invited to arrive as early as 5:00 PM to view a series of analysis maps of MMC’s urban context and to provide input on specific issues facing pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers in the area.


POSTED:SEPTEMBER 14, 2016  |   8:00 AM

Maine Medical Center Announces $512 million Renovation and Expansion Project

The investment will allow Maine’s leading medical center to stay focused on patient needs as medicine evolves and demands more of tertiary care hospitals.

Maine Medical Center today announced the next phase in its efforts to modernize its facilities, a collection of building projects costing $512 million that together will maintain the hospital’s patient-centered focus and its place as the state’s most advanced medical center.

The project will optimize current bed capacity at the state’s largest hospital and modernize its facilities. It calls for increasing the number of single rooms available to patients and adding new surgical and treatment areas that conform to 21st century standards. About $50 million of the total project cost will be invested in primary and specialty care facilities through the hospital’s Maine Medical Partners multispecialty practice organization.

The project also involves the replacement of the largest parking garage on the campus, a 1,200-space structure used by employees that sits along Congress Street. The need to replace that garage creates an opportunity to reorient the hospital’s main entrance to Congress Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. The hospital’s current main entrance faces Bramhall Street in the city’s largely residential West End.

“Patient-centered care is more than a slogan for Maine Medical Center,” said Richard Petersen, president and CEO. “It informs everything we do, including this project. This is really about one thing: Making sure we can provide the very best possible care for our patients for years to come.”

Maine Medical Center officials say the need for the project in Portland is being driven by a combination of aging infrastructure and evolving standards of medical care. Buildings on the hospital’s main campus date to the early 1900s, and more than half the patient rooms are in buildings more than 40 years old, with some in buildings nearly 80 years old. In some cases – as with the employee parking garage - facilities have simply reached the end of their useful life.

But the hospital’s physical plant is also under great stress because of the changing nature of modern medicine. Single patient rooms are now the standard, and across the country any new hospital room that is built is “private.” This is because many of the less-complex procedures formerly performed in hospitals are now done on an out-patient basis. What this means is that the patients admitted to a hospital today are, on average, sicker than those in the past. Every day at Maine Medical Center it is necessary to close beds in double, or semi-private, rooms because so many patients today are just too sick to have roommates.

“We start our day with either a handful of available beds or none at all,” said Joel Botler, chief medical officer at the Maine Medical Center.

“We have enough licensed beds, but they are not configured for how we deliver care today. The result is that we often have patients with serious conditions waiting to be transferred here. Also the lack of available beds routinely backs up our Emergency Department as patients wait there for an in-patient bed to become available,” said Botler.

Another challenge is that older hospital beds can’t be enhanced for intensive or intermediate care. The most modern hospital rooms have what are called “universal beds” that can be flexed among standard, intermediate and intensive care.

Botler says the Maine Med staff is able to prioritize patients and work through the constraints imposed by an older facility, but sometimes patients have a less-than-ideal experience. And he worries about the future. The expectation in health care is for major tertiary care hospitals like Maine Medical Center to see their typical case grow in complexity. Already, Maine Medical Center cares for patients who, on average, have conditions that are nearly twice as complicated as those seen in hospitals generally.

This growing complexity also has an impact on the hospital’s operating rooms and other places where procedures are performed. Older operating rooms are about two-thirds the size of those built today, and that makes it hard sometimes to bring in the latest equipment.

“Here again, the staff does an amazing job of working around physical constraints,” says Botler. “But as cases grow more complex, and the technology gets more advanced, we’re going to need larger and more modern operating rooms.”

In all, the project would add 128 new universal patient beds in single rooms, which in turn will allow the hospital to convert many of its existing double rooms to single. It would also add 20 new “universal procedure rooms” – a modern term for operating rooms. The project would also replace the existing employee parking garage and add three new floors of parking on an existing visitor parking garage, providing another 225 spaces for patients and families.

Half the new patient rooms and the new operating rooms would be in a new building on the site of the existing employee parking garage on Congress Street. The other 64 rooms would be added by constructing two new floors on the hospital’s East Tower building, which was built in 2008. The new employee parking garage would be built on land owned by the Medical Center at the southwest corner of Gilman and Congress Streets, directly across Gilman from the new Congress Street building. The project would also move the Lifeflight helipad from the roof of the old employee parking garage to the roof of the East Tower building, directly above the emergency department.

State and local approval for the project is expected to take a year or more. Construction is expected to take four years.

“Our first priority is creating a place where our world-class staff can deliver world-class care,” said Petersen. “But it is going to be a real plus for the hospital and the city to reorient our main entrance onto Congress Street. Our patients will find it easier to find and access the hospital, and this is a part of town that will benefit from the vibrancy that will be created there.”

This latest project is the third major facilities project undertaken by the hospital over the past decade. In 2008 the East Tower was completed, which included a new Emergency Department and space for mother-baby care among other departments. In 2015 the hospital completed an addition to the existing Bean Building that added new surgical facilities.

Peterson says about half the project costs will be covered by reserves and fundraising, the other half by debt. Maine Medical Center remains committed, he says, to keeping our costs as low as possible while delivering high quality care and improving the overall health of our communities.

“We are very proud to be Maine’s leading medical center, the place people turn to when they are very, very sick,” said Petersen. “And we are proud, as well, to provide primary and preventive care to our immediate community. We take these roles and the responsibilities that come with them very seriously. For that reason, we have to invest in facilities that are as good as our people.

This project takes us well on the way to that goal.” The project also fits into a larger commitment by Maine Medical Center’s parent organization, MaineHealth, which has member hospitals throughout southern, central and western Maine as well as Carroll County, N.H. MaineHealth members are investing in local primary care and other services all aimed at providing patients throughout its service area with the best possible care as close to home as possible.

Along with the Maine Medical Partners project, investments in primary care, specialty care, urgent care, wound care and a range of other local services recently made or planned across the MaineHealth system total more than $100 million.

“As a system, we are transforming how health care is delivered, leveraging our world-class specialists into a network that puts caring for the whole patient in our communities front-and-center,” said Bill Caron, president and CEO of MaineHealth. “An important part of that vision is a world-class tertiary care hospital, and the project at Maine Medical Center will maintain that asset going forward.”