The Maine-based hospital members, including Southern Maine Health Care, of MaineHealth will come together on Jan. 1, putting the strength of their entire system behind the care delivered in each community they serve.
Final approval was given today to a plan to bring together the members of Maine’s largest healthcare system as a single not-for-profit organization in an effort to put the strength of one of the region’s largest healthcare systems behind efforts to deliver care in each community.
The Corporators of MaineHealth, who are community representatives from across the system with a role overseeing the not-for-profit organization, voted at their annual meeting today in favor of a unification plan that has been under discussion for the past two years. The action means that, as of Jan. 1, Maine Medical Center, Southern Maine Health Care, LincolnHealth, Coastal Healthcare Alliance, Western Maine Health, Franklin Community Health Network and Maine Behavioral Healthcare will all be governed by a single Board of Trustees. However, each local organization will retain a local board that will have a significant role in overseeing the care delivered in each community.
The organizations oversee local health systems across the state serving 1.1 million people. The new, combined entity will have approximately 19,000 employees and more than $3 billion in annual revenues.
"Two years ago MaineHealth members began a dialogue on how they could better leverage the strength of the whole system to make sure each community got the services it needed," said George Hissong, Jr, Chair, Southern Maine Health Care Board of Trustees. "We are pleased with the final decision and look forward to seeing the benefits of unification in our communities."
The inability to deploy resources across a system of free-standing member organizations had become a significant problem for community hospitals in recent years, as many came under increasing financial pressure because of changes in the way health care is being delivered.
"Unification strengthens Southern Maine Health Care from a healthcare delivery, financial and sustainable perspective," said Nate Howell, CEO, Southern Maine Health Care. "By bringing the members together, resources can now flow more easily between various parts of the healthcare system. We are proud to be part of a system that can provide all levels of care to our patients."
Significantly, unification will help MaineHealth build a system of integrated care, supported by a common electronic medical records system.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,500 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. Members include Franklin Memorial Hospital/Franklin Community Health Network in Farmington, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, Maine Behavioral Healthcare in South Portland, MaineHealth Care at Home in Saco, Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, N.H., NorDx in Scarborough, Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County Hospital in Rockport and Belfast, Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford, Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook and Stephens Memorial Hospital/Western Maine Health in Norway. MaineHealth Affiliates include MaineGeneral Health in Augusta and Waterville, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Portland and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. MaineHealth is also a significant stakeholder in the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization in Portland.
About Southern Maine Health Care
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is a national award-winning healthcare system with a non-profit mission “to improve the health and health care of the communities we serve.” SMHC includes a full service, acute care medical center in Biddeford, with York County’s only inpatient mental health unit. Emergency care, surgical services, and diagnostic and therapy services are available at SMHC’s Medical Centers in Biddeford and Sanford. SMHC offers primary care and multi-specialty physician services, diagnostic and therapy services, and Walk-In Care centers in various York County communities including Biddeford, Kennebunk, Saco, Sanford and Waterboro. SMHC is Joint Commission accredited and has been recognized for quality excellence by numerous outside organizations. To learn more about SMHC and SMHC providers, visit www.smhc.org, https://www.youtube.com/c/smhcorgme, or https://twitter.com/SMHCHealth.