Maine hospitals plan for huge Medicaid windfall

Maine's hospitals, soon to be flush with cash after being notified they will receive more than $438 million in long-awaited payments from the Medicaid program, now are formulating plans to spend their windfalls.

Money from the state Medicaid program, MaineCare, totals $138.5 million owed to 39 hospitals statewide. Its payment will trigger an additional $300 million in payments from the federal government.

The seven-hospital Eastern Maine Healthcare System will use the $115 million it will receive to repay credit lines and possibly give its workforce a pay raise, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The Franklin Community Health Network, which is facing a $5.9 million deficit and has had to cut jobs, will retire some debt and invest in new healthcare information technology with the $15.4 million it will receive, according to the Portland Press-Herald.

"It's a real feeling of relief," Chief Financial Officer Wayne Bennett told the Press-Herald. "Running a hospital these days is like walking on a tight wire."

MaineGeneral Health will use the $38 million it receives to retire some debt and put toward the $312 million price of a new hospital it is constructing in Augusta.

"This is a big deal. If this didn't happen, it would have been detrimental," Mike Koziol, MaineGeneral's chief financial officer, told the Morning Sentinel.

To learn more:
- read the Bangor Daily News article
- check out the Portland Press-Herald article
- here's the Morning Sentinel article