In separate votes last week, Portland-based MaineHealth and Mid Coast-Parkview Health of Brunswick agreed to become part of the region’s largest integrated health system, Mid Coast announced in a statement Monday.

On Thursday, the board of directors at Mid Coast-Parkview Health voted to proceed with joining MaineHealth. The following day, MaineHealth gave its approval to pursuing the merger, which requires state and federal regulatory approval, a vote by the Mid Coast-Parkview Health corporators and a formal merger plan.

The process started in February, when Parkview established a committee to evaluate the risks and benefits of a potential integration.

“As part of the exploratory process, we have met with more than 700 employees, medical staff, corporators, volunteers, auxilians, patients, and community members to provide them the opportunity to learn more about the process, ask questions, and provide feedback for the committee that directly influenced our discussions with MaineHealth,” Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Mid Coast-Parkview Health, said in the statement. “The general response from all audiences has been overwhelmingly positive. Overall, this has been a very thorough process that resulted in a recommendation that integrating will better serve the healthcare needs of the Midcoast community in the future.”

MaineHealth committed to honoring restrictions for previously donated funds for use in the Mid Coast-Parkview Health service area, establishing a new shared electronic medical record system, as well as a shared commitment to continue to lower the costs of healthcare in the region. A local board will continue to oversee care quality, credentialing of providers, local philanthropy, and community health initiatives, and also has a defined role in the budget and planning process. A representative of the local board would be invited to join the MaineHealth board of directors.

Mid Coast-Parkview Health’s exploratory committee concluded that merging with MaineHealth would ensure a sustainable, affordable model for the delivery of high-quality healthcare in the midcoast region over the long term.

Mid Coast-Parkview Health has been clinically affiliated with MaineHealth and its flagship tertiary-care hospital, Maine Medical Center, for more than 25 years. Full integration is expected to create efficiencies with shared technology and resources.

“At MaineHealth, our Maine-based hospital organizations have all come together as one so we can put the strength of the entire system behind our efforts to deliver exceptional healthcare in each community we serve,” MaineHealth CEO Bill Caron said in the statement. “We are excited that our colleagues at Mid Coast-Parkview Health have engaged in a thoughtful, inclusive process and have reached a decision that will allow us to put our resources behind their work in the communities they serve.”

“While we proceed with the due diligence and regulatory approval process, Mid Coast-Parkview Health remains focused on our mission of caring for the health of our community,” Skillings said. “Just as we have for the past two decades, we will continue to collaborate with our clinical partners at MaineHealth to improve quality and lower the cost of care, and look forward to becoming more aligned with our delivery models in the months to come. With the support of our community, clinical staff, leadership, and employees, we now definitively know that this is what is best for the future of healthcare in our region.”

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