BRUNSWICK — The merger between Mid Coast-Parkview Health and MaineHealth was finalized Tuesday, after about a year of preparation. The Brunswick health organization will join the MaineHealth conglomerate as a member March 1, according to hospital officials. 

MaineHealth includes more than a dozen hospitals and medical offices stretching across the state and into New Hampshire. Mid Coast-Parkview Health is a result of a 2015 merger between Mid Coast Health and Parkview Adventist Medical Center.

MaineHealth and Mid Coast-Parkview announced plans to merge in February 2019, with officials from both groups giving their go-ahead in June. At the time, Mid Coast-Parkview and MaineHealth hoped to be fully integrated by Jan. 1, 2020. 

But a few delays in the regulatory process pushed the target back by two months. 

“As a clinical affiliate of MaineHealth for more than 25 years, becoming a fully integrated partner makes sense for our organization and will ensure a sustainable health care system in the Midcoast region long into the future,” Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Mid Coast-Parkview Health said in a press release. 

Making the move now “makes all the sense in the world,” she said earlier, citing a rapidly changing health care field becoming increasingly reliant on technology, changes in regulation and governmental policies, declining health care reimbursement, increases in patient care for which Mid Coast isn’t compensated and pressure from competition in the industry among reasons for the merger. 

The two health care systems will work toward full integration over the next several months, though Skillings said in an earlier interview that it could take up to a year to get the two organizations fully aligned, with Mid Coast on MaineHealth’s electronic single platform health record. 

That record should be one of the only changes for patients, Skillings said previously. 

According to a press release announcing the final approval, the economy of scale of the larger organization may even help reduce costs. 

“Our mission of caring for the health of our community will not waver,” she said. 

Bill Caron, CEO of MaineHealth, echoed her statements, adding that together they will pursue “our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.” 

All 2,000 Mid Coast-Parkview employees will keep their jobs and Mid Coast will maintain a local board of directors. 

In 2019, Mid Coast Hospital admitted 5,701 people and had 472,294 outpatient visits through Mid Coast Medical Group. The system also encompasses CHANS Home Health and Hospice and Mid Coast Senior Health. 

Comparatively, MaineHealth, the state’s largest employer, includes 19,000 employees and 11 community hospitals in a dozen counties in Maine and New Hampshire, including Portland’s Maine Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital. 

This is the second merger in just five years for Mid Coast, which became Mid Coast-Parkview Health after it merged with rival Parkview Adventist Medical Center in 2015 as part of a nearly $8 million sale agreement. 

That merger was hurried and financially-driven with a focus on “healing health care in our own community,” Skillings said, while the merger with MaineHealth, which was initiated by Mid Coast-Parkview, is more about technology, resources and the long term view of maintaining care.

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