Grand Rounds, a fast-growing health services company headquartered in San Francisco, said Tuesday that it plans to greatly expand its office space in Lewiston and boost its employee count for the second time since it located in Maine three years ago.
The company in June went on a hiring spree to double its number of workers in Lewiston to more than 200 by the end of 2019. That’s faster than its initial goal of hiring 150 employees in Maine by 2022.
Another doubling of staff is planned for an unspecified timeframe as the company expands in the Bates Mill complex.
“We have 150 employees now and are on track to go beyond 200 by the end of the year,” said Danielle Snow, senior vice president of patient care at Grand Rounds. Snow oversees the Lewiston office and is a Lewiston native.
“And we will add 46,900 square feet, so we can grow up to a total of 400 employees,” she said.
The company has 22,150 square feet in Bates Mill 6 that it will keep. The additional space is now being developed in Bates Mill 1.
She would not comment on how much the company has invested in Maine. It also has an office in Reno, Nevada.
Snow said the company is in the early stages of discussing another location in Maine that would be more convenient to rural workers.
Grand Rounds’ services are contracted for by employers and are free to employees. The company helps employees understand the health care system, select a doctor for a second opinion on a diagnosis and sort through bills.
Customers include Dead River, the state of Maine and national clients such as Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot, which have operations in Maine.
The company held an event Monday to celebrate the expansion. Gov. Janet Mills and representatives from the offices of Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden also were at the event, as was Faye Gilbert, interim provost for the University of Maine.
“I’ve always said Lewiston is the gem of central Maine,” Mills said. “For decades it has been overshadowed by other communities. This will encourage people to shop locally and provide jobs and economic growth for the state of Maine.”
Several Grand Rounds employees also spoke, including Nyada Batieste and Rob Pereira. Both moved to Maine from the San Francisco office of Grand Rounds. They said Lewiston is more affordable and less crowded.
“Cost was a key driver in my coming to Maine,” Batieste said.
Snow, who also had worked in the San Francisco office before transferring back home to Lewiston, said Grand Rounds had looked at 35 East Coast cities from Georgia to Maine before selecting Lewiston.
Having an incentive like the Pine Tree Development Zone tax credit was one attraction. The other was a skilled health care work force to draw from in Lewiston, Portland and Augusta, she said.
“Talent and economic incentives were key,” she said. The company’s jobs almost all pay above the median income of $31,550 in Maine, she said, quoting statistics from the state’s strategic economic vision. Employees get benefits such as 100 percent payment of their health insurance and an equity stake in the company.