Hospital merger proposal deemed not subject to DHHS review

Posted Oct. 03, 2012, at 7:35 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Mid Coast Hospital learned Wednesday that its application to absorb neighboring Parkview Adventist Medical Center will not be reviewed by the state’s hospital licensing office, though Mid Coast said its proposal is still very much alive in concept.

Mid Coast’s plan is “not subject to review” under the state’s Certificate of Need Act, which requires Maine hospitals to gain state approval for major changes or investments, according to an Oct. 2 letter from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Licensing and Regulatory Services division. Mid Coast filed its plan in response to another proposal that would merge Parkview with Central Maine Healthcare in Lewiston.

“DHHS cannot and will not review the submission on a competitive basis with the submission received by the department from Central Maine Healthcare on Aug. 29, 2012,” reads the brief letter from Larry Carbonneau, manager of DHHS’s Health Care Oversight Program, according to a copy of the letter provided by Mid Coast Hospital.

Steven Trockman, spokesman for Mid Coast Hospital, said the hospital learned today that under a new amendment to the Certificate of Need process, which the Legislature passed earlier this year, CMHC must prove that there is a public need for its taking control of Parkview. The Certificate of Need process requires DHHS to consider “lower-cost alternatives that meet the community’s health care needs,” according to written statements from Trockman.

“So really, nothing has changed,” he wrote. “The decision remains whether or not the state should allow CMHC to own Parkview.”

No one from DHHS’s Licensing and Regulatory Services office could be reached late Wednesday evening.

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