Eastern Maine Medical Center to acquire Sunbury Medical Associates, including 4 clinics

Posted Sept. 17, 2013, at 6:28 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 18, 2013, at 7:28 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Eastern Maine Medical Center and Sunbury Medical Associates have struck a deal under which the hospital will buy the private family medical practice and its four clinics.

The terms of the sale were not immediately released.

EMMC spokeswoman Jill McDonald confirmed Tuesday that the purchase is taking place but declined to discuss specifics.

“We really want to communicate with patients first,” McDonald said, adding that the hospital will send letters out this week to inform Sunbury patients of the change in ownership and to reassure them that they will continue to have access to quality medical care after the ownership change.

Sunbury’s family medical sites in Bangor, Brewer, Hermon and Winterport serve roughly 35,000 patients, Sunbury CEO David Savell said Tuesday.

In March, Sunbury sold its practice in Corinth to Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, according to published reports.

Last year, Sunbury opened a walk-in care facility at its headquarters in Bangor. It also closed its facilities in Hampden and Orono and transferred its medical providers and patients to its Winterport and Bangor locations.

Though the number of employees has fluctuated over the years, Savell said that the company employed about 210 at its peak and now employs about 140.

Whether those employees will be retained was not clear this week. Savell said that was EMMC’s decision to make.

“They have their own strategic plan,” he said, adding that EMMC officials have been very respectful to Sunbury employees throughout the negotiations process.

Savell said that Sunbury and EMMC reached agreement on the terms of the sale on Monday and that the deal will be closed on Sept. 30.

Savell said the arrangement will be good for the community.

“We’re excited,” he said. “They clearly are a good partner to sell this practice to. Eastern Maine clearly has more resources than Sunbury could bring to bear. I just cannot say enough how the community will benefit.”

Savell said the move is good for the community because private practices like Sunbury have disadvantages in the marketplace, which make it hard to compete with nonprofits like EMMC that have access to grants and better reimbursement rates.

Savell said the agreement does not include the doctors, physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners, who are negotiating with the hospital separately.

Headquartered in Bangor, Sunbury Medical Associates was formed in 1998 by several physicians who were practicing family medicine in smaller, surrounding communities.

Founder Dr. Thomas Hayward said that the goal was to maintain continuity in health care providers. Many of the member doctors who had operated small practices were having difficulties with the ever more complicated health care world and struggling to maintain a healthy bottom line.

Sunbury built its $4.4 million medical and administrative complex in the Bangor Business Enterprise Park in 2005.

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