Memorial Hospital defers plan for unification with MaineHealth

June 01, 2018

North Conway, N.H. ­– A proposal to fully unify Memorial Hospital with its parent organization, MaineHealth, will not go forward as planned with respect to financial and governance functions, but the hospital still plans to integrate its other operations with the larger system at the end of the calendar year.

Memorial and the other members of MaineHealth have been working over the past 18 months to create a unified governance, financial and operating model so that resources and expertise can flow more easily across the healthcare system. The Memorial Board of Trustees approved the “unification” plan last fall subject to required approvals.

Since that time, leaders at Memorial and MaineHealth have been working through certain requirements in New Hampshire that do not exist for the other MaineHealth members in Maine. Those leaders have recently concluded that there are aspects of the process that cannot be resolved in a timely manner relative to the overall timeframe for unification across MaineHealth. As a result, Memorial Hospital will not fully unify with the system when the other members of MaineHealth come together on Jan. 1, 2019. Instead, Memorial Hospital will continue to operate under the definitive agreement reached with MaineHealth in 2013.

What this means in practical terms is that Memorial will retain separate governance and financial structures in New Hampshire. It does not mean, however, that the hospital is leaving MaineHealth. In fact, the hospital still plans to unify its operations with the larger system at the end of the calendar year.

“It became clear that we have a lot of work to do with our MaineHealth colleagues before we could move forward with an application to the Attorney General’s office to fully unify with the system,” said Laura Jawitz, chair of the Memorial Board of Trustees. “Rather than rush that process or slow the progress being made across the rest of the system, we determined it was best to go forward under the existing membership agreement with MaineHealth.”

“One thing remains clear,” said Jawitz. “Our membership in MaineHealth has allowed us to better serve our patients here in the Valley, and MaineHealth remains the right partner for us going forward.”

Scott McKinnon, President & CEO of Memorial, said moving forward with unifying operationally with MaineHealth means continuing to pursue the integration of key functions such as human resources, information systems and clinical services. He also said there will be no interruption of the planned installation of the Epic electronic health record system later this year.

“Our leadership is now assessing what it will mean to have separate governance and financial structures alongside a unified MaineHealth,” said McKinnon. “We will share any information we have about that as it becomes available. In the meantime, rest assured, we will continue to move forward with our colleagues to find the most beneficial way to be a part of the MaineHealth family.”

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