WATERVILLE, Maine-The board of Inland Hospital in Waterville and Eastern Maine Healthcare Corp. are holding discussions that could lead to a mergerlike partnership.
Inland, with 44 beds, would become a part of EMHC, parent company of 348-bed Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Inland signed a letter of intent expressing the desire to become a part of EMHC late last month.
Wilfred J. Addison, Inland's chief executive officer, said the hospital would gain the support of a large tertiary facility, and Eastern Maine Medical would benefit by linking with a primary access hospital in that market. The two hospitals are about 50 miles apart.
Addison said Inland's parent corporation, Osteopathic Health Services, would be dissolved and replaced with EMHC. He said there are no plans to cut staff at this point.
After reviewing the proposed deal, both parties could reach a final agreement by early spring. Inland approached EMHC last November to propose the affiliation.
In 1994, Inland attempted to merge with Mid-Maine Medical Center in Waterville until Mid-Maine pulled out of the talks in early 1995. After the discussions broke off, Inland and Eastern Maine Medical created a clinical relationship in cardiology and pulmonary services.
"We wanted to see if Eastern Maine Medical Center was interested in providing clinical support at the medical site in Waterville, and the response and interest was good, so this seemed like the next logical step," Addison said.
In other Maine hospital news, Donald McDowell, president and CEO of Portland-based Maine Medical Center, said merger discussions are continuing with two other hospitals. McDowell said talks with Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford are ongoing and that executives of the facilities will meet again in February. They signed a letter of intent more than a year ago.
A definitive agreement has been reached with Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta and could be signed sometime this month, McDowell said. Maine Medical's board of trustees and several committees representing Miles Memorial already have approved the agreement.