Maine hospitals want to join forces

BREWER, Maine (AP) — A plan to integrate a Portland-based health care system into one based in Brewer is moving forward and awaits regulatory approval.

Mercy Health System of Maine and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems have entered into a joint, nonbinding letter of intent. Mercy would become a member of a health delivery system that covers half of Maine's population.

Patient choice would remain in force for patients in the Portland area, and Mercy would retain its Catholic identity and non-profit status.

EMHS employs more than 8,000 people at its seven hospitals and other facilities in central, eastern and northern Maine.

Mercy Health was unable to come to an earlier agreement to sell Mercy Hospital and its other facilities to Boston-based Steward Health Care System LLC.

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