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May 17, 2018 – The parent of Mercy Hospital is leaving partnerships it has with Portland and Bangor to increase access to substance use treatment, saying the move was prompted by a lawsuit that Portland recently filed against opioid manufacturers. Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems announced Thursday that it was leaving the Greater Portland Addiction Collaborative and a similar group in Bangor. Eastern Maine Healthcare, a nonprofit, also is the parent of Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. The city of Portland filed a $1 billion lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies in April, blaming the companies for causing the opioid crisis. While the primary defendants included large corporations such as Purdue Pharma, Teva and Cephalon, one of the five physicians also named as a defendant is a former Mercy Hospital primary care doctor. Bangor joined several Maine communities in a similar lawsuit in December … SUIT TARGETS TWO MAINE DOCTORS

Ed Gilman, a Mercy Hospital spokesman, said the hospital’s involvement in the addiction collaborative will need to be “put on hold,” but it hopes the matter can be resolved. Gilman said existing Mercy programs for substance use disorder will not be affected. “Unless there are changes to the lawsuit, Mercy Hospital’s participation in the Greater Portland Addiction Collaborative (GPAC) will need to be placed on hold,” Gilman said in a statement. “This is done with a heavy heart, as Mercy has worked tirelessly to convene, lead and grow the collaborative to what it is today. However, due to the ongoing work of our dedicated community partners, we are hopeful that the advancements made by the collaborative will continue. While our work with GPAC may be on hold, we look forward to re-engaging as soon as this legal matter is resolved.”

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