Philip Hickey

At a time when some long-term care facilities in Maine have felt it necessary to shutter their doors due to staffing challenges and effects of the pandemic, one provider has decided to expand its presence in the state.

Tewksbury, MA-based Covenant Health System finalized its acquisition last month of the Bangor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which offers skilled nursing and memory care services. Gerard Foley, Esq., FACHE, president of Covenant Health Systems and senior vice president and president of post-acute care, told the McKnight’s Business Daily that the two entities entered into discussions in May, with the state Department of Health and Human Services approving the transition in December.

“The acquisition was a natural next step for both organizations and follows nearly 10 years of successful collaboration and partnership,” he said.

The need for skilled nursing care is increasing across the state as the older adult population grows, said Philip Hickey, Covenant Health vice president for post-acute-Maine. According to Covenant Health, almost 23% of the Pine Tree State’s population of 1.3 million is at least 60 years old, and that number is expected to grow to 31% by 2030.

Covenant Health owns two other communities in Maine: St. Andre Health Center in Biddeford, a 96-bed community that provides rehabilitation, short-term respite and long-term nursing as well as memory, palliative and hospice care; and St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion in Lewiston, a 210-bed community that offers long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, memory care and a skilled nursing and restorative program.

“We are New England’s largest not-for-profit post-acute care provider, and we take our responsibility to consistently execute our Mission of providing healing and care for the whole person in service to all in our communities very seriously,” said Hickey, who also is president of d’Youville Pavilion.

Maine’s SNF and assisted living workers are expected to see sharp wage increases in the coming months after Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced last month a plan to increase Medicaid payment rates for 225 facilities.

“Not only does it align with legislative intent, but it also reaffirms our collective commitment to supporting our dedicated staff who have logged many long hours during this pandemic caring for Maine’s most vulnerable citizens.” Maine Health Care Association President and CEO Angela Westhoff said.