BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Dozens of dialysis patients at Eastern Maine Medical Center could be affected by a deal that hospital administrators are looking to make.
E.M.M.C. wants to outsource its dialysis services to DaVita Inc. The Denver company is the nation's largest for profit provider of dialysis services. Maine's Department of Health and Human Services ultimately has to approve the deal.
Opponents of the plan drew enough signatures to force a public hearing on the issue on Tuesday. Critics argue that DaVita has faced complaints from patient advocates as well as patients directly for their services. Last year the company paid $55 million to settle claims that it was wasting medicine to collect more money from Medicare.
Officials with DaVita claimed that the company did nothing wrong.
Some dialysis staff at the medical center say they wouldn't mind working for DaVita.
"Our patients are very very important to us...whether we work for DaVita or E.M.M.C. or whoever it would be," said Jennie Garden, who is the director of the hospital's dialysis services," patient safety has been our concern and it always has been..always will be no matter who we work for."
"My hopes are that Eastern Maine Medical Center will continue to run the excellent facility that they have and continue to manage it," remarked Kathy Day, who is a patient advocate and local critic of DaVita
If the deal goes through, DaVita would take over services at all of E.M.M.C.'s dialysis clinics. They include two in Bangor, one in Ellsworth and one in Lincoln. The final decision on the matter rests with the commissioner of Maine D.H.H.S.