State will reconsider urgent care requirement

Hearing will be held on August 11 in Boothbay
Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:00am

    The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to reconsider its May 29 determination that the St. Andrews Urgent Care Center must be open 24 hours a day for at least 18 months. The urgent care center, which replaced St. Andrews Emergency Department last October, is currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

    In a July 17 letter to MaineHealth Director of Planning Richard Linehan, Commissioner Mary Mayhew wrote, “I have decided good cause has been demonstrated to reconsider condition #3 of my decision.”

    MaineHealth, in its June 27 reconsideration request, claimed that there was significant, relevant information not considered by DHHS in attaching the 24-hour urgent care condition to its approval of the creation of Lincoln County Healthcare and the merger of St. Andrews and Miles Memorial Hospitals.

    “There was no mention of the issue or a concern regarding the hours of operation of the urgent care center in the pre-release technical assistance meeting,” Linehan wrote, “The condition did not appear in the preliminary analysis. As a result, Lincoln County Healthcare and MaineHealth have had no opportunity to address the issues and concerns expressed by the Department.”

    Reconsideration requires another public hearing. On Friday, LCH CEO Jim Donovan said the reconsideration public hearing will give Lincoln County Healthcare the opportunity to present data DHHS has not yet seen.

    Under the state’s May 29 decision, LincolnHealth would have been required to begin 24/7 services in Boothbay Harbor within 90 days. Donovan said the 90-day time clock stops while the commissioner reconsiders her decision.

    “The hearing will be limited in scope and will consist of information and testimony from the applicant and interested parties, as well as the public, on the sole issue of the Condition #3, as contained in the approval,” DHHS Director of Public Communications John Martins wrote in an email on Monday. “The approval of the project and the conditions are stayed until the decision of the reconsideration is finalized.”

    The DHHS reconsideration hearing has been scheduled for August 11 at 10 a.m. at the Boothbay Town Office.