Frequently Asked Questions

Building a new Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital
Frequently asked questions

Funding a new hospital
Like virtually all nonprofit hospitals, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital will rely on donor support and other funding sources to build the new hospital.
Total project cost:
New hospital building/Sussman Health Center renovation $24.5 million
Sources of funding:
Past donor gifts $11 million
Preserving Our Promise campaign and support from Northern Light Health $13.5 million
Total: $24.5 million
Q. Why now?
A. The current hospital building has served our communities well for generations, but it is now costly to maintain and requires frequent repairs. It is not sustainable as a full-service hospital for the long-term—if we don’t have a plan to replace the building, inpatient care in our region will eventually be at risk.
Northern Light Health envisions a strong future for rural healthcare in Maine and is investing expertise and resources to strengthen care in several Maine communities. The Blue Hill Peninsula fits the system’s vision for modern, efficient, rural hospitals that provide core services and improve access to care not provided locally through telehealth and other technologies.
Q. Why are you removing the original hospital building?
A. Now a century old, the building is no longer being used for patient care. Given our nonprofit patient care mission and commitment to using our limited resources responsibly, a new building is our most financially responsible option. The hospital building has served generations of year-round and seasonal families for nearly a century, and it will continue to hold a special place in our hearts. We will remember and honor the hospital and the caregivers who made a difference in countless lives over the years by creating a history wall in the new hospital.

Q. Why will there only be 10 beds?
A. Currently, our average daily census is less than 10 patients. Looking forward, patients will spend less time in the hospital as services continue to shift to outpatient care, which means that our census may decrease further. We anticipate that the new building will serve our communities’ inpatient care needs long into the future.

Q. Will services be added or lost?
A: All core services will be preserved:
  • Inpatient care
  • 24/7 Emergency Department    
  • Primary Care
  • Select Specialty Care
  • Imaging
  • Lab
  • Rehabilitation Services
Space will be available for additional specialty services that will be provided weekly or monthly.

Q: Will the smaller hospital result in a loss of jobs?
A: We anticipate a small decrease in the number of people we employ only after the new facility opens. We expect that any reduction in positions to occur only through attrition.

Q: Will you have to close while you are building?
A: All hospital services will remain available during construction.
Q. Will the building take advantage of energy-efficient technology and construction?
A. The new Blue Hill Hospital facility will be more efficient than the existing buildings, and have a much lower carbon footprint, for the following reasons:
  • Increased thermal insulation
  • Low wattage LED lights throughout, both inside and outside
  • More sophisticated building controls and energy management system
  • Occupancy sensors that reduce lighting, heating, cooling, and air exchanges when spaces are unoccupied
  • New, high efficiency condensing propane boilers
  • Economizers on the air handling equipment
  • Hot water and chilled water pumps will have high efficiency ECM motors
  • Air handlers have been configured to modulate as needed, rather than one large fan always running
  • A new chilled water plant (AC) will be installed for better water temperature control
Q. Will it have solar panels? 
Nearly 100% of Blue Hill Hospital’s energy will be solar produced through a consortium agreement. 
Given the large footprint that would be needed to provide solar power on the scale of a hospital, and the relative lack of adequate space to do so at this hospital, we have pursued other options.
Northern Light Health joined a collaborative with other large electricity consumers across Maine to pursue the purchase of solar generated power through a series of statewide developments.
We have committed to purchase the bulk of the electrical volume at Blue Hill from these new solar developments being built across the state. This is a 20-year commitment, and we are only in year one.
The result will be significant savings for Northern Light Health over current electrical rates, power that is renewably generated, and an avoidance of intensive capital investment on sites that are too small to support the needed infrastructure – the best of all worlds.