Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center 340B Benefits

FY23 savings: $74,091,858

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is a member of Northern Light Health, and as a member, we are committed to building a better healthcare system for all the people of Maine. Our mission is to improve the health of the people and communities we serve. Participation in the 340B program helps us to provide comprehensive healthcare services and life-saving prescriptions to the communities we serve.

As a 340B hospital, we purchase medications for qualified patients at a reduced rate from drug companies. The savings are reinvested in services and programs that benefit the patients we serve. While some services are covered by insurance, Medicare and MaineCare reimburse us at a payment rate far below the actual cost to provide care. Other services provide significant benefit to our patients but are not covered by any insurance program. In addition to programs and services in the areas identified below, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center experienced losses associated to free “charity” care provided last fiscal year amounting to over $24,000,000. We are committed to our patients, their families, and each other and will provide the care needed, no matter what the situation.

The Importance of Maintaining the 340B Program

As Mainers, we are in this together. And, at Northern Light Health, we are dedicated to ensuring our communities have access to the very best in healthcare. We tirelessly advocate to make sure essential services are maintained close to home for you. Reducing or eliminating our participation in the 340B program would greatly increase the risk that we would not be able to continue the comprehensive level of services provided to our patients.

Please see a list below of some of the benefits provided to our community supported by savings realized through participation in the 340B program.

340B Program Benefits

The Oral Oncology Program at Cancer Care: At Northern Light Cancer Care, we combine the expertise of hematology, medical and radiation oncology, pediatric oncology and breast surgical oncology. We work closely with fellowship trained oncology surgeons, colorectal surgeons, thoracic surgeons, head and neck surgeons and neurosurgeons. Together with other specialized staff, to deliver coordinated, compassionate care, all under one roof.

The Oral Oncology Program at Cancer Care: This unique program assists patients with the management of their prescriptions as well as helping with the coordination of patient care. This program operates at a loss and is not reimbursable by Medicare. The funding provided by 340B allows us to continue this essential support for our cancer patients when they need it most.

Pediatric Specialty Care, including Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Orthopedics, Oncology, and Surgical Services: Access to specialty care for children is better than ever for families in central, eastern and northern Maine. Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and our pediatric specialists offer services ranging from primary care to tertiary level intensive care for critically ill and injured children, neonates, and adolescents.

The Northern Light EMMC neonatal clinical team cares for mothers and babies affected by Maine’s opioid addiction crisis.  In 2018, 131 opiate exposed babies were born at the medical center. Opiate exposed babies often experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a group of conditions that occur when a baby withdraws from drugs they were exposed to in the womb. Recognizing there is significant hardship on families when neonatal abstinence syndrome babies receive their entire treatment in the hospital, Northern Light EMMC partnered with Penobscot Community Health Center to launch the Collaborative Home Alternative Medication Program. This program guides mothers and babies through the process of weaning babies safely off opiate replacement medication at home. 

Diabetes/Endocrine Specialists: Our Diabetes, Endocrine, and Nutrition specialists are committed to providing the highest quality of healthcare services to patients with diabetes, endocrine, and nutrition related disorders. Offering state-of-the-art medical management and education of these health conditions is our top priority.

Many adults and children living with diabetes in our region are challenged to maintain healthy nutritious diets to successfully manage their disease. One third of food insecure Mainers reside in just two counties: Cumberland County is home to 20.1% and Penobscot County is home to 12.6%. The Northern Light diabetes and endocrine specialists work closely with our food insecure patients to implement affordable dietary changes. Patients and families are also connected with resources in the City of Bangor. The Bangor food resource guide lists community meals, soup kitchens, farmers markets, food pantries and programs that provide financial support to access nutritious food. Hannaford dietitians are also an important partner for our patients and families. The Hannaford dietitian conducts individualized food tours to discuss less expensive healthier food options.

Cardiology Services: Quality heart care delivered with heart... and compassion. At Northern Light Cardiology, we provide comprehensive cardiac care from outpatient consultation service to leading edge, advanced diagnostic tests and therapies. Our cardiologists are board eligible/certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiovascular disease. We are dedicated to working with referring physicians and hospitals throughout Maine to bring outstanding care to our patients.

Deaths related to cardiovascular disease are higher in northern and eastern Maine, compared to the statewide average.  Supporting access to cardiovascular specialists, Northern Light EMMC provides certain telecardiology services to rural hospitals, providers and patients.  Costs related to technology equipment, software platforms to ensure privacy and access to broadband are generally not covered by insurance programs.