The Pen Bay Healthcare Board of Trustees gave its unanimous support Monday night to the local health care system becoming a full member of the MaineHealth corporation.

The 280 Pen Bay Healthcare incorporators are tentatively scheduled to meet Tuesday, Jan. 12 to make the final local vote. The incorporators are residents of the region served by Pen Bay Healthcare.

Pen Bay Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Roy Hitchings Jr. said the board, administration and medical staff have studied the matter for a year and decided the best route was to join with MaineHealth.

“This era requires more coordination, more cooperation and more collaboration,” Hitchings said.

The MaineHealth Board of Trustees voted for the merger earlier in December.

If the incorporators give their approval in two weeks, the merger will require the approval of both the state and the Federal Trade Commission. Hitchings acknowledged that approval from the FTC may take longer than originally anticipated.

Last week, MaineHealth and the Goodall Hospital in Sanford announced they had dropped their plans to have Goodall become a part of MaineHealth because of the extensive review and unexpected time and costs associated with that review by the FTC. Hitchings said the FTC scrutiny of that proposed membership was unexpected and the reasons are not yet known.

He said attorneys for both Pen Bay Healthcare and MaineHealth are checking into that federal action.

Pen Bay Healthcare is the parent corporation of Penobscot Bay Medical Center, the Knox Center for Long Term Care, Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice, Quarry Hill, and the majority of local physician offices. MaineHealth is the parent corporation of numerous hospitals including Maine Medical Center in Portland, Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

At the November incorporators meeting, officials said Pen Bay Healthcare’s full membership in MaineHealth would mean the annual budget and equipment purchases in excess of $500,000 would be decided by the MaineHealth board. That board would consist of 16 members with Pen Bay Healthcare guaranteed one representative. Maine Medical Center has three representatives, Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford has one and the remaining seats are held by people in the area covered by MaineHealth. The Pen Bay Healthcare board would remain in operation and keep most local control, officials said.

Under the agreement, MaineHealth would contribute $3 million to Pen Bay Healthcare for electronic medical records. Another $25,000 to $50,000 would be spent by MaineHealth for communications upgrades so that administrators and health care staff could be in better contact with the Portland headquarters.

Pen Bay Healthcare would have the right to withdraw from MaineHealth within two years for any reason. After that, Pen Bay Healthcare could only withdraw if MaineHealth were sold to a for-profit corporation or if Maine Medical Center withdrew from MaineHealth. Maine Medical Center accounts for about 70 percent of the expenses and revenues for MaineHealth.

If Pen Bay Healthcare withdrew in those first two years, the corporation would have to pay back the contributions made by MaineHealth.

Pen Bay Healthcare’s annual dues to MaineHealth would be $675,000 in the first year but Pen Bay Healthcare officials have said that cost would be more than offset by savings in employee benefits and legal and insurance costs.

Hitchings said a summary of the definitive agreement, the contract between Pen Bay Healthcare and MaineHealth, and reports on the study leading up to the vote would be sent to the incorporators before the vote.

Pen Bay Healthcare has been a partial member of MaineHealth for two years.