Public forum on possible merger of Mayo and Northern Light

DOVER FOXCROFT, Maine (WABI) - What does a possible merger between Mayo Regional Hospital and Northern Light Heath mean for people in the area who rely on the hospital?

It was a question on the minds of many Tuesday evening in Dover-Foxcroft.

A public forum hosted by officials from Mayo and Northern Light aimed to educate the public about the proposed merger.

It's a plan that has been in the works for 4 years as the hospital in Dover-Foxcroft fell on difficult financial times.

Northern Light has agreed to maintain the hospital's core services for 5 years after the merger.

There are some that question what happens after that 5 years is up.

Officials tell TV5 it is not in Northern Light's plan to close the hospital following the 5 year agreement as they have never closed a hospital they have taken over.

Mayo's President said the overriding theme of feedback she's received from community members is a fear of what the changes will mean.

"Fear that services will no longer be available or be discontinued," said Marie Vienneau. "We are educating them about the agreements that Northern Light and Mayo have together to sustain services here and actually hopefully improve access to services here so that people feel comfortable this is going to be a positive change for their healthcare."

She added there are no employee cuts planned at this time, however whether or not there is a merger, it is likely that employment levels at the hospital will reduce over the years.

This was the second of four public forums the group will hold. They will be in Guilford at the United Methodist Church on School Street next Tuesday at 5:30.