LEWISTON — Portland-based Spurwink announced Monday that it has taken over Tri-County Mental Health Services, after a fast-tracked negotiation started earlier this year.

“We are honored to continue the legacy of Tri-County Mental Health Services in meeting the mental health needs of people in Lewiston and western Maine with innovation, care, and respect,” Spurwink President Eric Meyer said in Monday’s news release.

Spurwink will continue all Tri-County services except for one in-home treatment program, which will be provided by Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Meyer said. It will cut 15 staffing positions and keep 165. The 15 who have been cut have been encouraged to apply for other positions within Spurwink.

Tri-County CEO Catherine Ryder will stay with Spurwink as vice president, he said. Though Spurwink will not keep the Tri-County name for services based in Lewiston, Farmington, Bridgton, Rumford and Oxford, it will keep both names on display for some time.

Spurwink will work with the Tri-County offices to make sure that services continue uninterrupted for clients and the community seeking care for mental health help and substance use, according to the release.

Ryder contacted Meyer in January asking if Spurwink could take over Tri-County services after negotiations with another organization fell through, Meyer said.


Usually acquisitions of this type take up to 18 months to negotiate but the process had to be hurried because Tri-County, described as being in financial crisis, was at risk of closing by the end of March if it was not acquired, he said.

The decision to take over Tri-County largely hinged on whether Spurwink could get $2 million from the state to cover acquisition costs, which include temporary staffing, legal expenses, additional audit expenses, and other associated costs, according to Meyer.

That $2 million request was approved by the Health and Human Services Committee on March 6, increasing the likelihood that the request will be approved by the Legislature, where it resides.

“The goals of both of our boards and leadership are to ensure that services continue uninterrupted and that as many people as possible have employment options to continue doing this critical work throughout this transition process,” Ryder said in the release. Ryder did not respond to a request for additional comment before publication.

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