LEWISTON — Central Maine Healthcare announced Thursday it will expand its partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, adding to the clinical services they share. 

However, it was unclear what, exactly, will be new. 

“We’re going to need to get our clinicians together in the different areas to figure out specifically what the opportunities are, but we think there are lots of opportunities,” said Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General.

Central Maine Healthcare is the parent organization of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital. 

CMHC has partnered with Massachusetts General for the past five years. In that time, Massachusetts General doctors have provided telemedicine consultations to CMHC doctors to help diagnose strokes and advise in the treatment of neurological emergencies, such as sudden paralysis. They also have provided genetic testing for Maine cancer patients, offered tests and equipment not available at CMHC hospitals and consulted with CMMC on its trauma program. Officials at the two sites said the partnership has allowed a seamless transition for patients going from one hospital to the other.

The clinical affiliation agreement will allow all of that to continue and will set the groundwork for the two to work together more, particularly when it comes to sub-specialties such as cancer, cardiovascular care, neuroscience, digestive health, emergency services, social and behavioral health, clinical trials and research. 

It is not a merger. 

“Central Maine Healthcare and Mass General remain separate organizations,” CMHC President Peter Chalke said. 

He said the agreement would allow the two to put an organizational structure in place to determine what the partnership will look like in years to come.

“We will be meeting once every six months between senior staff at Mass General and senior staff here,” Chalke said. “And then there will be committees in place covering every one of those sub-specialties that we mentioned. It will be those committees that say, ‘What do we want to accomplish in the next six months? What do we want to accomplish in the next year? What do we want to accomplish the year after that?'”

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