Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center will close its Orono primary care practice after operating it for nearly 20 years.

The practice on Kelley Road will be consolidated with the hospital’s affiliated practices on Husson Avenue in Bangor and Main Road North in Hampden, according to the hospital. 

The announcement that the facility will cease operations on Jan. 1 came one week after Northern Light Health, the hospital’s parent company, announced that it is selling its laboratory operations to a national company, Quest Diagnostics, that will take over management of many of the system’s labs.

No positions will be eliminated as a result of the Orono practice’s closure, according to EMMC spokesperson Amy Kenney.

“All employees have had alternative roles made available to them, planned transfers are in place,” Kenney said.

She also said that the decision to close the facility, which opened in 2003, was made before a federal jury awarded the former practice manager, a native of Ghana, $3 million in damages last month in a discrimination lawsuit against the hospital. 

The all-white jury found that the hospital discriminated against David Ako-Annan, 46, of Milford on the basis of race but not sex.

Ako-Annan sued EMMC in 2019 in U.S District Court in Bangor alleging that a supervisor discriminated against him because he’s Black and male. The hospital denied discriminating against Ako-Annan and said that turnover at the Orono facility was high and he was not addressing concerns that had been expressed about his leadership there.

The award is the largest in an employment race discrimination case in Maine history, according to Ako-Annon’s attorney, David Webbert of Augusta.

Kenney said Thursday that the decision to close the Orono facility was not connected to the lawsuit. It was announced internally before the verdict was issued, she said.

Kenney said that the decision to close the Orono location was based on “the wise use of resources.”

“As a healthcare organization, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center holds the important responsibility to ensure wise use of resources while efficiently providing the best possible care to the communities we serve,” she said. “We make adjustments to care delivery locations to ensure we are allocating resources in the most efficient and beneficial way for these communities and our patients.”