A Dover-Foxcroft hospital has officially become the 10th hospital to join the Brewer-based Northern Light Health network, although a lawsuit seeking to halt the merger still has not been resolved.
Officials from Northern Light and Mayo Regional Hospital announced Monday that they have completed the long-sought merger of their two organizations, which they said will help Mayo to “preserve rural healthcare services” in and around Piscataquis County after Mayo suffered operating losses every year since 2010.
However, the merger agreement approved by the boards of both organizations only obligates Northern Light to maintain the hospital’s existing services for five years.
Officials also revealed that the new entity will be called Northern Light Mayo Hospital, in keeping with the naming scheme of the nine other hospitals in the organization that was called Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems until late 2018.
At this point, the only noticeable change to patients will be staff calling the hospital by its new name, said Northern Light spokesperson Chris Facchini. Later this week, the hospital plans to hang a temporary wrap over its main entrance that includes the new name. Gradually, it will replace its permanent signs, according to Facchini.
“In terms of patients, they shouldn’t notice any difference in the care they receive,” he said. “They will go to the same providers in the same locations.”
Although the merger has legal taken effect, Facchini said, Mayo and Northern Light will need more time to merge their medical services, human resources, technology, philanthropy and other operations.
While the hospital announced the completion of the merger this week, a lawsuit that sought to block the deal is due to go before a judge in Kennebec County on March 25.
In that lawsuit, the town of Cambridge and almost three dozen residents from the other communities that collectively owned Mayo before the merger argued that special legislation authorizing the merger was unconstitutional. They also argued that hospital leaders violated the hospital’s charter by pursuing the deal without first holding votes in all of its 13 member communities.
Northern Light, Mayo and the Maine attorney general’s office have all filed motions seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.