MaineGeneral Health's consolidation of inpatient beds into one regional hospital in north Augusta is only the largest, most visible real estate move for Kennebec County's largest employer.
Beyond that single geographic location -- which, along with the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, will act as a hub for medical care in central Maine -- MaineGeneral's footprint is ever-changing, and huge.
MaineGeneral operates in 996,000 square feet of owned buidings and in 238,000 of leased space. The footprint is comparable to that of Maine state government, which leases about 1.6 million square feet of space statewide, according to the Bureau of General Services.
The nonprofit health care provider has offices in 10 municipalities ranging from Gardiner to Jackman -- including the two existing hospitals in Augusta and Waterville -- that provide health care to 88 communities with an estimated population of 180,000 people. They employ about 3,800 of them, including more than 250 doctors.
The hospital owns 31 sites, most of them in Augusta and Waterville, and rents 18 other buildings, again mostly in Augusta and Waterville.
Many of those offices will remain where they are after the regional hospital opens -- tentatively scheduled for summer 2014.
"Most patients' health care will not change," said Chuck Hays, president and chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Medical Center, which includes the medical functions of MaineGeneral Health. "An estimated 90 percent of the health care patients receive during their lifetime is outpatient care. MaineGeneral is committed to keeping primary and outpatient care throughout our communities, as close as possible to patients."