ELLSWORTH, Maine — Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems has won state approval to acquire Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, moving one step closer to the end of the Ellsworth facility’s nearly 60 years as an independent organization.

In an Aug. 21 letter, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew granted EMHS regulatory endorsement to take control of Maine Coast. The deal, expected to close in October after review by the state’s attorney general, would integrate the 64-bed hospital and its affiliated clinics and outpatient services into the Brewer-based health care system.

Opened in 1956, Maine Coast would become the ninth hospital in the EMHS system, which also includes nearby Blue Hill Memorial Hospital as a member.

Mayhew approved the deal on the condition EMHS report to the state cost savings and health quality and outcomes data for three years.

First announced a year ago, the acquisition was driven in part by Maine Coast’s worsening financial outlook. The hospital posted an operating loss of nearly $5 million in 2014.

Maine Coast officials have said they anticipate no staffing changes because of the deal.

Maine Coast already has a relationship with EMHS, including shared oncology staff with Eastern Maine Medical Center, the system’s flagship hospital in Bangor.

The Ellsworth hospital also participates in EMHS’ “accountable care organization,” a health care model outlined under the Affordable Care Act that rewards hospitals financially for keeping patients healthy at less cost.

Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and...