Maine Coast is now part of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems



Maine Coast Memorial Hospital CEO and President Charlie Therrien, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems CEO and President Michelle Hood, EMHS Board Chairman Evelyn Silver and Maine Coast Board Chairman Adin Tooker spoke at a news conference at the Ellsworth hospital on Oct. 1 to mark the official affiliation of Maine Coast with EMHS. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY STEVE FULLER
Maine Coast Memorial Hospital CEO and President Charlie Therrien, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems CEO and President Michelle Hood, EMHS Board Chairman Evelyn Silver and Maine Coast Board Chairman Adin Tooker spoke at a news conference at the Ellsworth hospital on Oct. 1 to mark the official affiliation of Maine Coast with EMHS. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY STEVE FULLER

ELLSWORTH — Maine Coast Memorial Hospital ended its nearly 60-year run as an independent hospital last week, when it made its affiliation with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems official.

“We are very excited about welcoming Maine Coast into the EMHS family,” said Michelle Hood, president and CEO of Brewer-based EMHS, at a news conference on Oct. 1 at MCMH.

EMHS is the parent company of Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) and, now including Maine Coast, eight other hospitals in Maine.

Maine Coast first announced in August of last year it was looking to join with the larger system. Officials said becoming part of EMHS would result in financial savings through greater efficiencies, and would also mean greater access to more services for residents of Hancock and western Washington counties.

The two organizations worked over the past year to iron out details of the affiliation agreement. They also needed to get, and received, approval from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and clearance (on anti-trust grounds) from the state’s Attorney General’s Office.

The news conference on Oct. 1 served as a victory lap of sorts for many of those who were involved in the process. A banner hung behind the podium with the EMHS and Maine Coast logos on it, with the message, “Together we are stronger.”

In addition to Hood, speakers included Maine Coast CEO and President Charlie Therrien and Evelyn Silver and Adin Tooker, chairmen of the EMHS and Maine Coast boards, respectively.

In the audience were employees and board members of both organizations. Several patients passed through the atrium in the medical office building at Maine Coast on their way to appointments.

Tooker said change is not always easy or fun, but that it is sometimes necessary.

“Our primary mission is to ensure that this resource is here and better going forward,” he said, speaking of the Maine Coast board, “and the affiliation with EMHS going forward will do that.”

Silver, a Dedham resident, assured audience members that the Maine Coast Board of Directors “will have a very strong role to play” going forward.

She said each of the hospitals in the EMHS system has a “strong, local” board that provides input to the EMHS board.

“Local input is so critical in how decisions are made,” she said.

Therrien said Hood and EMMC President and CEO Deborah Carey Johnson were two of the first people to reach out to him when he began working at Maine Coast five years ago and offered their help if it was needed.

He said that and the fact Maine Coast already had clinical partnerships and group purchasing efforts with EMHS showed the relationship between the two organizations goes back before the start of the affiliation discussions.

“It was kind of a natural progression,” he said.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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