Millinocket hospital schedules renovation after $3.5M federal grant

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 5:30 PM EDT
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MILLINOCKET, Maine (WABI) - Millinocket Regional Hospital is moving forward as they receive a $3.5 million federal grant for major renovations, slated to begin June next year.

“The last time we did a major expansion process here at MRH was in the 90s,” says MRH CEO Dr. Robert Peterson. “I learned long ago, if you’re not growing and expanding, you’re moving backwards.”

The revamp will be focused on the hospital’s emergency department, which is where most patients enter or go to when they first arrive.

“Right now, at any given hour, on any given day, our emergency department is filled. This project will double the size of our working bays from five to 10 and provide a number of enhancements to the care we provide,” explains Peterson.

Expansions of cardiac and trauma treatment room footprints, new rooms dedicated to decontamination, behavioral health, and mass casualty patients, and negative air pressure to eliminate the spread of airborne pathogens are just some of the enhancements MRH’s E.R. will feature.

Peterson says the investment in MRH not only will benefit the hospital specifically, but rural hospitals all around the state and the town of Millinocket as a whole.

“These dollars that are available are huge to MRH. We’re a small hospital and small rural hospitals need to be maintained in Maine. Right now, if a patient has a cardiac event, a trauma event, or a stroke event, they come here for stabilization. If this hospital is not here, or other rural hospitals in Maine are not available, those patients are made to travel at least 40 to 50 miles to the nearest hospital. Their chance of survival is diminished, their chance of a positive outcome is diminished,” describes Peterson of the importance of funding rural hospitals.

As for how the funding benefits Millinocket, he goes on to say: “If Millinocket wants to revitalize and the Millinocket area wants to revitalize after the closure of the mills, it’s important that we have adequate health care, a very functioning, welcoming hospital, adequate schools, and without these things in place, we can’t think that revitalization is going to happen anytime soon. So, it’s important that we invest in this hospital and make sure that it grows and make sure that it stays viable, and a building process is the indication that that’s happening.”