AUGUSTA — A Maine bill would allow residents of the state’s island communities to ship medical samples by ferry rather than in person.

Democrats in the State Senate say the proposal was prompted by changes in the Maine State Ferry Service that make it difficult to ship samples, such as bloodwork, from islands.

New policies say Maine ferries won’t transport lab work for patients anymore. That means island residents must travel to mainland hospitals to deliver the samples, which can take hours.

Sen. Dave Miramant, a Camden Democrat, says a “lock box” for samples should be available on all boats. The bill was the subject of a Jan. 28 public hearing where some North Haven island residents spoke in favor of it.

The state Legislature’s transportation committee will review the bill soon.

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