The public will get a chance to weigh in on a proposed merger between Franklin Memorial Hospital and Portland’s MaineHealth at a public hearing next month.
The Farmington hospital, one of the few remaining independent hospitals in the state, announced in December it will merge with the Portland-based health network.
The hearing will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, April 3, at the University of Maine at Farmington, according to a news release.
The two organizations are still in the merger process and are holding the hearing as part of the state Department of Health and Human Service’s certificate of need application process. There will also be an antitrust review request. If all is approved, the merger is expected to be completed by late this year.
The purpose of the hearing, held by the state human services department, is to allow the two organizations to present information on the proposed merger and let the public give feedback to DHHS.
Two Franklin Memorial Hospital representatives will speak at the hearing: hospital president and chief executive officer Rebecca Arsenault and Michael Fraley, medical staff president.
MaineHealth senior vice president Andrea Patstone will also present information.
Franklin Memorial Hospital has a history of working with other members and affiliates of the MaineHealth system, including collaborating with Maine Medical Center for cardiology and cardiovascular care, neonatal care at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.
The possibility of a formal merger with MaineHealth was first publicly discussed in September at the hospital’s annual business meeting. After six months of research, the board of directors unanimously voted to pursue a merger, saying the decision was made to protect the delivery and quality of health care in the area.
Arsenault previously said the hospital is struggling with increased demand for charity care and climbing expenses.
To combat these costs, in the last fiscal year, the hospital eliminated the equivalent of 52 full-time positions and cut $6 million in expenses.
According to a news release, written comments about the merger must be mailed by 5 p.m., Monday, May 5, to the DHHS Licensing and Regulatory Services, Certificate of Need Unit, Station House Station 11, 41 Anthony Ave., Augusta.