With the introduction of the Pen Bay Medical Center/Waldo County General Hospital collaboration, first announced at the end of 2014, a new era in the delivery of quality care close to home has begun.
As of December 1, 2015 Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital will operate as one healthcare system with a shared logo. Each center remains the same, we’re simply offering our shared services and programs to the entire region through a new company named Coastal Healthcare Alliance.
Since the beginning of the Pen Bay/Waldo collaboration process last fall, we have successfully integrated more than 50 clinical and non-clinical programs. These consolidated programs help us provide high-quality, specialty care to our friends and neighbors in a more efficient way.
Which means your safety net just got even stronger.
In many ways, we are at the forefront of healthcare in the state of Maine. Thank you for trusting us with this process. The unification of the two systems in the Midcoast will strengthen the network and provide access to the best healthcare the region has to offer.
Becoming one system in an alliance for a healthy Midcoast allows us to work better together for each and every patient—and family—we provide care for.
Q. Is the creation of this parent company really just an organizational merger?
A. No. Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital remain separate organizations, each with their own operational and medical staff. A new local parent will ensure that decisions in the future are made in consideration of the needs of residents throughout our region, not just one part of our region or the other. Establishment of a local parent company signals a long term commitment, with full expectation for mutual investment and development into the future.
Q. Pen Bay and Waldo are already collaborating by sharing administrative and clinical resources. Why are these changes necessary when this collaboration already exists?
A. It is true that employees, medical staffs, and administrative leadership are already making changes that involve sharing resources and streamlining services. Everyone involved has worked hard to make these arrangements successful. However, for these and additional such changes be lasting and permanent, and for us to continue to expand and build on them, the hospitals themselves must have a shared administrative and Board leadership structure. Additionally, the Boards will request that the Medical Staffs work together to examine collaboration opportunities and the potential benefits of an integrated medical staff model.
Q. How will these potential changes impact patients?
A. These changes will give us a better chance of ensuring that residents of Knox and Waldo counties will continue to have access to specialty care as close to home as possible. Patients will continue to see the same doctors, particularly their primary care doctors such as pediatricians and family doctors. Some specialty doctors have begun and others will begin providing care at both hospitals. In some cases services that used to be available at only one hospital will be available at both. However, some types of care may be located at only one hospital. In these cases, patients would receive their care there. It’s important to remember that the overall goal is to minimize the need for patients from having to travel very long distances to receive services in Portland or other communities far from home.
Q. Will the names of the hospitals change?
A. While the new parent organization will have a different legal name; there is currently no plan to change the names of the two hospitals. As we continue to expand collaborative programs, they could take on a more regionalized feel but at this time those decisions have not been made.
Q. When will a final decision be made?
A. The process of expanding collaborative efforts will continue to evolve over the next 6-18 months. Pending due diligence and satisfaction of any regulatory requirements, the final legal decision will be made by the fall of 2015.
Q. What is the Collaboration Committee, what is it meeting about, and why?
A. The Boards of Pen Bay and Waldo hospitals believe that changes now and in the future will make it difficult – if not impossible – for each hospital to continue functioning on its own. Because of this, the Boards appointed a “Collaboration Committee” in August, 2014 and directed the committee to make recommendations regarding strategies that have strongest potential to ensure the long term sustainability of affordable, accessible, high value healthcare to residents of Waldo and Knox counties. Given changes in healthcare delivery, technology, and reimbursement, collaborating will be essential in the future to ensure that people in our areas continue to have access to healthcare services as close to home as possible.
Q. What has the role of MaineHealth been in this? Is this something that is being driven by MaineHealth?
A. The need for and creation of the Collaboration Committee has been the initiative of the Boards of both hospitals. As the parent company of both local health systems and as the parent of the potential new local parent, MaineHealth has provided advice and assistance to the Committee as it has gone about its work.
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