MaineGeneral Health’s consolidation of inpatient beds into one regional hospital in north Augusta is only the largest, most visible real estate move for Kennebec County’s largest employer.

Beyond that single geographic location — which, along with the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, will act as a hub for medical care in central Maine — MaineGeneral’s footprint is ever-changing, and huge.

MaineGeneral operates in 996,000 square feet of owned buidings and in 238,000 of leased space. The footprint is comparable to that of Maine state government, which leases about 1.6 million square feet of space statewide, according to the Bureau of General Services.

The nonprofit health care provider has offices in 10 municipalities ranging from Gardiner to Jackman — including the two existing hospitals in Augusta and Waterville — that provide health care to 88 communities with an estimated population of 180,000 people. They employ about 3,800 of them, including more than 250 doctors.

The hospital owns 31 sites, most of them in Augusta and Waterville, and rents 18 other buildings, again mostly in Augusta and Waterville.

Many of those offices will remain where they are after the regional hospital opens — tentatively scheduled for summer 2014.

“Most patients’ health care will not change,” said Chuck Hays, president and chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Medical Center, which includes the medical functions of MaineGeneral Health. “An estimated 90 percent of the health care patients receive during their lifetime is outpatient care. MaineGeneral is committed to keeping primary and outpatient care throughout our communities, as close as possible to patients.”

One of its newest locations is in a new building at Enterprise and Civic Center drives in Augusta about a mile from the new hospital site.

Labeled as the Musculoskeletal Center, it houses Augusta Orthopedics, Rehab Therapy, Augusta Family Physicians and Workplace Health, and MGMC Express Care, a new service.

The first floor houses the practices of orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians and rehabilitation therapists.

“We work together to provide high-quality prevention, X-ray assessment, treatment and rehabilitation services in one location,” hospital spokesman Nicole McSweeney said. “Having these services under one roof makes it very convenient for our patients and gives the staff greater flexibility to consult with one another.”

The practices were located formerly in or near the hospital on East Chestnut Street in Augusta.

“The orthopedic group had outgrown current space,” Hays said. “It has grown significantly in recruiting orthopedic surgeons and they were in about half the space they need.”

Some physician practices housed at the two hospitals will move to the new regional hospital when it opens, Hays said.

The hospital also will incorporate the physicians’ offices of MaineGeneral Obstetrics and Gynecology, which is in rental space at 5 Caldwell Road, Augusta. He said they must be close to the hospital because of surgery needs.

However, hospital officials say they remain committed to serving patients in their own communities, and Hays said so far there are no other plans for consolidation.

“We want the physicians to stay spread out in the community,” he said. “If we have the populations to support it, like in Winthrop and Oakland, we want to have our services out there. When it’s highly specialized services, where we don’t have a lot of physicians we want to centralize those.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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