Just ask the leaders of Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, who have been forging ahead with a deal that they say is critical for the long-term survival of their 25-bed facility. They are close to becoming the 10th hospital to join Northern Light Health, the statewide network that employs almost 13,000 people and includes Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Northern Light Health is not paying a fee to acquire Mayo from the 13 towns that collectively own the institution — that’s one of the arguments in a new lawsuit seeking to block the deal. But supporters of the merger have said that it will nonetheless provide something for the people who use Mayo Regional Hospital and its affiliated practices: the weight of a larger health care organization.
After the facility suffered operating losses every year since 2010, its leaders have argued that joining Northern Light will allow Mayo Regional Hospital to stay open by giving it new resources to cut its operating costs and bring in additional revenue.
Yet evidence from around the country suggests that new revenue could come from charging people who use the Dover-Foxcroft facility more for the health care they receive there. That’s because large systems that do not have competition can use their size to negotiate higher payments from insurance companies.