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EMHS and Mayo: An update on integration

Marie-Edited.jpgMarie Vienneau, BSN, MHA, NE-BC, FACHE, CEO of Mayo Regional Hospital, remembers the name of the Powerpoint slide that she was viewing with members of the hospital board in November of 2015 when they were contemplating Mayo’s future. “There was this one slide called, ‘Survive or Thrive’ and it became very apparent to the board at that time that we had really not been making money to the point where we were going to thrive as a rural facility.” 

What that slide had shown and what Stroudwater Associates, a national healthcare consulting firm had concluded, was that Mayo could not be self-sustaining in the long term. Mayo’s leadership had done a good job building up its savings over the years, but the hospital’s operating expenses had outpaced revenues every year since 2010. “Knowing that we are not going to get any increased reimbursement for rural healthcare, the board voted that month to go through a request for proposal (RFP) process and seek a partner and that’s what they did,” recalled Marie.

Mayo sent RFPs to several healthcare systems in Maine, including EMHS. Of those who responded, Marie said the EMHS proposal was the strongest. “It was very clear that EMHS really had the resources we needed. They had experience with critical access hospitals and we were already collaborating on so many services with EMHS and Eastern Maine Medical Center that it did not make sense to disrupt those established collaborative relationships.”

The list of services that EMHS collaborates on with Mayo is varied and includes:

  • Oncology unit
  • Pharmacy overnight support and vacation coverage
  • Materials management and capital equipment purchasing contracts
  • Cardiology clinics
  • Sleep study staffing and interpretation
  • Echocardiography interpretation
  • Trauma oversight and review
  • Life-Flight air ambulance services
  • Shared Podiatry and OB/GYN services between Mayo and Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital
  • Various specialty clinics
  • Maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk OB)
  • Teletrauma and pediatrics for the ED

IMG_1932.jpgEMHS senior leadership has been working with Marie and senior leadership at Mayo for several months on the due diligence required to determine whether integration of Mayo into EMHS is feasible, and if so, how the integration would be structured. While the process is still underway, there are some promising opportunities. Integrating Mayo into the EMHS system presents opportunities for collaboration and service enhancement to the Piscataquis County region that cannot be achieved with Mayo operating as an independent hospital. Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville and Mayo in Dover-Foxcroft would be able to collaborate with more flexibility than they can today. In turn, Mayo could handle many procedures which are currently referred to Eastern Maine Medical Center, allowing Piscataquis County patients to receive excellent care closer to home and freeing up Eastern Maine Medical Center’s bed capacity.

“This combination of circumstances illustrates the strategic role that Mayo Hospital could play in the EMHS system,” said M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, EMHS President and CEO. “In our discussions with Marie and her leadership team, we have learned that we share many common values and a commitment to deliver high-quality care to people close to home. We look forward to exploring a stronger relationship with our valued partners at Mayo.”

There are many more financial, regulatory, and legal details to address. One of those issues pertains to Mayo’s status as a Hospital Administrative District or HAD. The HAD is a quasi-governmental entity compromised of 13 surrounding towns, each with governing authority and representation on Mayo’s board of directors. If Mayo joins EMHS, the HAD structure would be eliminated, but the hospital would retain a community-based board of directors similar to other EMHS hospital boards. Marie and her leadership team plan to travel to the towns comprising the HAD throughout the summer and early fall to help constituents understand the merits of integrating with EMHS.   

Mayo celebrated its fortieth anniversary this past spring and invited community members, legislators, current and former employees, and members of EMHS to the festivities. Mayo reflected on its rich past and is now looking towards its future—a future that Mayo believes will be brighter if it aligns with EMHS.