by AT News Team

Two major health care organizations in Maine have filed dueling proposals with the state Department of Health and Human Services to take over Parkview Adventist Medical Center in Brunswick. Similar proposals were made in 2008 and 2010, according to reports last week in the Sun Journal newspaper.
 
Central Main Healthcare operates hospitals in Lewiston, Bridgeton and Rumford. It has filed a letter of intent to take control of the Adventist hospital by amending the articles of incorporation and bylaws. “No financial transaction would accompany the change,” the newspaper reports in a copyrighted story. “Day to day operational control would remain in Brunswick” and the institution “would retain its physical properties and tax-exempt charitable status.”
 
Mid Coast Hospital has filed a different proposal which would liquidate Parkview Hospital and merge its 60 beds with the larger institution which is also located in Brunswick. The letter of intent from Mid Coast argues that there is no need to continue Parkview Hospital and that it can meet the entire need for health care services in the community. Mid Coast presented similar arguments on at least two prior occasions in recent years when other merger proposals were put forward by Central Maine Healthcare and Parkview.
 
Detailed document packages are still being prepared by both Central Maine and Mid Coast and until the full documentation is on the record, the state regulatory body will not make a decision. In the mean time, Parkview continues to be affiliated with the Northern New England Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
 
When the future of Parkview is finally decided it will be the terminus of a major trend that has washed over Adventist health institutions in North America over the past several decades or longer. Parkview is the last Adventist hospital in this part of the world to stand alone without being affiliated with one of the five Adventist health care systems in the country.
 
As health care has become a more expensive and risky business, with major for-profit players, it has become almost impossible for small, local hospitals to survive, especially those that lack major endowments. “We are at the end of an era,” a retired health care administrator told Adventist Today. “With the new health care legislation passed by Congress, whatever the political fallout from the upcoming election, health care in this country is really passing into a new era.”
 
For Adventists it will mean that no institutions beyond secondary schools will survive in New England where the movement began. Parkview Adventist Medical Center has 213 employees and $45 million in annual operations, according to Hoover’s, a Dun and Bradstreet company.