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Mayo Integration Update

Marie-(2).jpgMarie.jpgMarie-(1).jpgMarie-(3).jpgFrom the halls of the statehouse to school buildings, town offices, and community centers in rural Piscataquis county, people are exercising their democratic rights to determine the future of rural healthcare in their region. 

Throughout the spring, leaders at Mayo Regional Hospital joined with their board members to explain why they believe the best path forward for the 25-bed Dover-Foxcroft hospital is to join with Northern Light Health.

“This is about our patients and our communities. It’s about keeping our biggest asset and the positive effect it has on the local economy in our region,” explains Marie Vienneau, CEO of Mayo Regional Hospital.

Marie and her leadership team spent the month of April hosting four different community forums in towns across the hospital district to explain the scenario to community members. “What those forums told us was that there was overwhelming support for the merger,” says Marie.

She is right. The 13 towns that make up Hospital Administrative District (HAD) 4 held non-binding town meeting votes in April. Twelve of the 13 towns comprising more than 97 percent of the HAD 4 population endorsed plans to merge with Northern Light Health.

“We are glad that community members see the value of Mayo becoming a member of Northern Light Health," explains Michelle Hood, FACHE, president and CEO of Northern Light Health. “As the major healthcare provider in this part of the state, we feel an obligation to help maintain the delicate healthcare delivery system throughout our rural communities.”

More work needs to be done for a merger to happen. The Charter for HAD 4 never envisioned that Mayo Regional Hospital would merge into a health system. A bill is before the Maine legislature that would convert Mayo to a non-profit corporation to allow for a merger with Northern Light Health. At a May 15 public hearing, several people testified in favor of the merger, including leaders from Mayo, Northern Light Health, the Maine Hospital Association, and the Piscataquis County Chamber of Commerce.

“We are a region known for aging populations, pockets of deep poverty, limited transportation options, and significant drug abuse issues. For all these reasons, l believe Mayo Regional Hospital is perfectly placed at the center of our county and the core of our region. Having access to local, effective, and affordable healthcare is as important as having access to shelter and food. The loss of such local care would be absolutely devastating to those who live in the area who do not have or cannot afford transportation,” Denise Buzzelli, executive director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce told lawmakers. 

The bill is awaiting more votes in the legislature. In the meantime, Mayo and Northern Light Health will file a Certificate of Need application with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. That application is in process and leaders from the hospital and northern Light Health are working together to gather all the information for that application including a five-year financial forecast.

Northern Light Health is also performing due diligence work. Our Information Systems department is making site visits to review Mayo’s systems and Jensen is conducting surveys of Mayo’s facilities. If all goes according to plan, Mayo will become the tenth hospital of Northern Light Health within the next year.