FARMINGTON — If Franklin Memorial Hospital is successful in its application to become a Critical Access Hospital, it will continue to provide care to its obstetric patients, including delivering babies.

The reduction of hospital beds from 65 to 25 as required for a Critical Access Hospital is expected to have no to little effect on its daily operations, Barbara Sergio, president of Franklin Community Health Network, which includes Franklin Memorial Hospital, wrote in an email.

Even though Franklin Memorial Hospital has always been licensed for 65 beds, the actual use of bed or census is consistently around 25-27, even through the pandemic, she wrote.

“Not all of our patients are considered as ‘inpatients,'” Sergio wrote. “Some are considered ‘observations,’ which don’t count towards the Critical Access Hospital 25-bed census rule. Our yearly inpatient census average is 22, which already meets the critical access designation criteria. Our numbers have been in this range for several years, allowing us to remain confident that there will be no change in day-to-day operations.”

Franklin Health practices, which include five primary care practices and seven specialty care practices, are considered outpatient clinics.

During the pandemic, the hospital was busy but did not ever reach critical census, according to Sergio.


“We both kept and sent COVID patients to (Maine Medical Center in Portland) depending on the level of care they needed.  We partner with other facilities throughout the MaineHealth system and collaborate on patient care frequently,” she wrote. “This allows us to transfer patient care if any of our critical access facilities exceed the inpatient census. We don’t foresee this becoming any concern for our community as ensuring timely, safe, efficient care for our patients is always our ultimate goal.”

The hospital plans to collaborate with outpatient clinics, home health care agencies, and other facilities, to create a network of care that ensures patients receive appropriate treatment at the right level of care and enhance access to health care services for the community it serves.

Transitioning to Critical Access Hospital status is a vital step for the future of Franklin Memorial Hospital, according to Sergio.

“It will empower us to adapt to the evolving health care landscape, improve our financial stability and continue delivering exceptional care to our rural community. This decision underscores our unwavering commitment to patient-centered health care and positions us for continued growth and success,” Sergio previously wrote.

As a designated Critical Access Hospital, Franklin Memorial would qualify for more federal and state reimbursement under the Medicare and MaineCare services.

There will be a public forum from 5-6 p.m. June 28 in the Bass Room at the hospital that will include an overview of the proposal and a question and answer period.

Franklin Memorial Hospital will continue to serve its obstetrics patients and deliver babies if the license changes.

Rumford Hospital Hospital in Rumford closed its Maternity Unit on March 31.

“FMH has seen a slight uptick in our deliveries, but our partners in the Norway region have seen the most significant increase,” Sergio wrote. “We have no plans to change the delivery of care to our obstetrics patients.”

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