PORTLAND, Maine — Maine's largest hospital closed out a fundraising campaign to improve its systems with $29 million more than expected.
The Next150 campaign supports the hospital's mission through facility expansion and modernization, workforce development, and innovation and clinical research. In June, MMC extended the campaign beyond its original goal of $150 million to further support its building and workforce development goals.
Around $115 million will go toward infrastructure, like building the new 265,000-square-foot Malone Family Tower. It is expected to open in 2024 and will include 96 private rooms and 19 procedure suites focused on cardiac care.
That money also added an extra floor to the Coulombe Family tower with 64 new private patient rooms.
"It provides better space for the care team, the doctors, the nurses, and others. Better space for the families there. The environment and experience for the patient while they're here will be remarkably improved," MaineHealth Southern Region President Jeff Sanders said.
The campaign will direct $24 million to education to boost the healthcare workforce. Among the programs receiving money is the Maine Track program, which provides scholarship and clinical training at MMC to Tufts University medical students, who are interested in practicing rural medicine in Maine. Partial scholarships for students in that program are now fully endowed, thanks to the campaign.
The hospital also increased its nursing scholarship awards. Donations will expand and spur advancements in MMC’s residency and fellowship training programs.
It's also designating money to the Center for Workforce Development. The center helps train workers to serve in essential frontline health care jobs and focuses on engaging new Mainers interested in a healthcare career and eliminating barriers.
That injection of cash could help recruit top talent to the area, Sanders said. He added the hospital needs to boost its workforce after waves of illnesses in 2022 stretched staff to their limits.
"It's been incredibly rough. If you look at the past year, in particular, 2022, it was probably the most difficult year for hospitals and health care systems that we can measure in modern times," Sanders said. "The workforce challenge isn't unique to Portland. It's consistent in our rural communities. The work that we do with the funds that we've raised is for here but it's also for our whole region."
MMC is the only Level 1 trauma center in Maine and one of just three in northern New England.
Another $40 million will go to innovation and research, including oncology, cardiology, emergency medicine, pediatrics, neurosurgery, and orthopedics, among others. Research on cancer, mental health, and vector-borne diseases will receive funding as well.