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March 24. 2013 9:33PM

Memorial Hospital trustees vote to join MaineHealth

NORTH CONWAY - The board of trustees of the Memorial Hospital, which serves the greater Mount Washington Valley region, voted on March 20 to approve an agreement with MaineHealth to become a member of the Portland-based not-for-profit health care system.

MaineHealth has a dozen members, including Maine Medical Center in Portland.

The community will get a chance to comment on the agreement and ask questions on April 11, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway.

The public meeting is being held after the MaineHealth trustees April 4 vote on the agreement, but before the document is sent to the Charitable Trust Division of the N.H. Attorney General's Office for final review and approval.

At a public forum in November 2012, trustees said that though a letter of intent was signed, details still had to be worked out, and regulatory approvals received. The process was expected to take about a year. If the two parties receive the state and federal approvals in a timely fashion, the effective date of the agreement will be July 31.

"Our decision to pursue this membership followed an extensive review of our options and the negotiation of an agreement that clearly outlines our expectations and responsibilities to MaineHealth and theirs to Memorial," Gene Bergoffen, trustee chair, said in the March 21 announcement.

"This arrangement gives us the strong partner we need to ensure a healthy future for our hospital," said Memorial CEO Scott McKinnon. "MaineHealth is a good fit for Memorial and the Mount Washington Valley community."

The North Conway hospital will retain its status as a New Hampshire nonprofit. MaineHealth will have input on Memorial's budgeting, services, and CEO selection, with the operating margin and charitable assets controlled by the Memorial trustees. Those assets include buildings, equipment and charitable endowments.

The Memorial trustees will continue to manage day-to-day operations and business affairs at the hospital. MaineHealth would retain the authority to approve certain decisions made by the Memorial board, including financial, business, marketing and strategic planning decisions. MaineHealth also will have the right of approval on any articles of agreement or bylaws change, and the right to approve the termination or hiring of Memorial's CEO.

As part of the agreement, Memorial will get $1.5 million over two years from MaineHealth in order to implement a new electronic medical record system, and $50,000 for teleconferencing equipment and capability.

Memorial will pay MaineHealth annual membership dues for the system's management, professional and administrative services.

In its mission statement included in its 2012-2014 strategic plan, MaineHealth says it will: "Maintain an integrated not-for-profit, community owned, comprehensive delivery system providing the continuum of care from prevention and health maintenance through tertiary services, rehabilitation, chronic care, long term care and home care."

Written comments can be send to: Scott McKinnon, President & CEO, Memorial Hospital, 3073 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, 03860, or via email at MHcomments@memorialhospitalnh.org. For more Information, go to: memorialhospitalnh.org.

sknox@newstote.com


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