EMMC Receives State Approval for Inpatient Care Expansion


(Bangor, ME) - Eastern Maine Medical Center was pleased to receive today’s notification that its inpatient care expansion Certificate of Need has been approved. The notice arrived today from the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Brenda Harvey, letting the hospital know its project to increase and enhance inpatient capacity is cleared to move ahead. “This decision is a strong and welcome acknowledgment of our region’s need for more hospital capacity to care for the sickest patients of northern and eastern Maine,” says Deborah Carey Johnson, RN, president and CEO of Eastern Maine Medical Center.

EMMC’s case was compelling and well supported by patients, physicians, and hospitals of the region. The vision for the project is broad and extends several years. “We have deliberately made the plan flexible and multi-phased, so we can adjust to unanticipated changes in need or in treatment technologies in the coming years,” explains Johnson. The hospital’s Certificate of Need request noted that responsible growth in this day of rapid change in healthcare must allow for adjustments.

Johnson also recognized the foresight the commissioner had in her decision for approval, “These are not easy times for healthcare. The commissioner’s approval of our plan will allow us to provide the people of central, eastern and northern Maine continued access to modern specialty care services.”

The approval from DHHS was issued with a number of conditions that must be met by the hospital. The project is anticipated to cost about $250 million, which includes added capacity for critical care and cardiac patients in private rooms; new, modern surgical suites to replace suites built 30 years ago; consolidated and enhanced Heart Center space; and a new Women’s and Infants floor. Over the next several weeks, EMMC will be looking very carefully at the conditions that have been placed on the project to determine if our plans for this phase might need to be adjusted.

EMMC currently operates at or near capacity on a daily basis, causing uncomfortable waits in both the Emergency Department and at outlying hospitals where patients are awaiting transfer for specialty care. We are continuing our planning process and anticipate breaking ground on the project in late 2009. The project will take approximately 3 years to complete. In the meantime until the new inpatient tower is completed, we are working very hard to improve efficiencies in our current facilities and collaborate with the other hospitals to provide the healthcare services we know are needed in our region.

EMMC is a responsible steward and advocate for local healthcare, balancing cost considerations with individual and community needs. We are committed to a highly trained, dedicated staff and to program and facility improvements that ensure our patients and communities have access to the most up to date, exceptional care as close to home as possible.