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    Mass. General to partner with Maine health system

    Mass. General and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems plan to collaborate on such areas as telemedicine, research, and protocols for providing care.
    Pat Greenhouse/Globe staff/File
    Mass. General and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems plan to collaborate on such areas as telemedicine, research, and protocols for providing care.

    Massachusetts General Hospital has signed an agreement to partner with one of Maine’s largest health care systems, the latest move by the Boston hospital and its parent company, Partners HealthCare, to expand across New England.

    Mass. General officials said Thursday that they will form a clinical affiliation with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, or EMHS. The organization operates nine hospitals and is based in Brewer, Maine, nearly 250 miles from the Mass. General campus in Boston.

    Mass. General and EMHS officials said they have been discussing a partnership for the past several months. They plan to collaborate on such areas as telemedicine, research, and protocols for providing care.

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    Mass. General is affiliated with several hospitals and health systems, but this is its largest partnership outside of Massachusetts to date, said Tony James, vice president of network development and integration at Mass. General.

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    “We’ve seen patients from Maine and New Hampshire since our inception,” James said. “The continued evolution of the health care industry makes these kinds of collaborations and affiliations important both for the community organizations and for academic medical centers like ourselves.”

    Because EMHS’s facilities are several hours away, Mass. General physicians will work with their Maine colleagues virtually more often than they will travel to that state. The collaboration will focus on specialties including cardiovascular, neuroscience, pediatrics, orthopedics, and transplant medicine. Mass. General physicians plan to provide advice to EMHS physicians in these areas.

    In addition, the patients at the Maine health system with the most complex ailments may be referred to Mass. General for specialty care.

    M. Michelle Hood, president of EMHS, said in a statement, “There is a tremendous opportunity to make meaningful progress on tackling our mutual challenge of improved care at a lower cost.”

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    In New Hampshire, Mass. General has a clinical affiliation with Catholic Medical Center in Manchester and is exploring the development of a multispecialty medical office building in Salem.

    In 2017, Mass. General acquired Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., its first out-of-state acquisition.

    Mass. General’s parent company, Partners HealthCare, is planning to acquire Care New England Health System of Providence, and is discussing a partnership with the Lifespan health system, also in Providence.

    Partners, which also owns Brigham and Women’s Hospital, runs the largest health care provider network in Massachusetts.

    Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.