LEWISTON — Central Maine Healthcare, the parent organization of Central Maine Medical Center, announced Tuesday a plan to reduce some $11 million from operations so the organization can stabilize its finances.
Under the plan an estimated 35 people will be losing their jobs, including 7 managers and 28 non-management jobs, according to a release issued by CMH.
"Maine hospitals are facing a perfect storm of challenges," said Peter Chalke, CMH President and CEO in a prepared statement. "MaineCare owes our health system some $56 million dating back to 2007 and the debt is growing at a rate of over a million dollars a month. As the country continues to be mired in a deep recession, we are providing care to an increasing number of MaineCare patients, but we are paid at only 60 percent of our actual cost of their care."
The release stated some people have no insurance and others are struggling to pay their medical bills all adding to the debt.
"At the same time, we have experienced a slight downturn in patient volume," the release stated. "After years of predictable growth, the number of patients treated at our hospitals remains below our expectations for the first 8 months of 2010."
In July, Central Maine Healthcare deferred any general wage increases, cutback on vacation time, stopped filling most replacement and new positions and implemented other policy changes to reduce operating expenses.
Beyond the layoffs the plan to save costs includes:
*A reduction of 23 existing management positions
* The elimination of approximately 45 non-management positions currently vacant
* An 8 percent reduction in administrator salaries for three months with further evaluation in January
* Reduction in hours worked for multiple departments
* Benefit changes including, but not limited to, travel and education, tuition reimbursement and sick time
* Ongoing significant cost reduction efforts in drugs, medical supplies, renegotiation of vendor contracts and other expenses
"The simple fact is our operating costs must remain lower than projected future payments from Medicare, MaineCare and private insurance companies," CMMC President Laird Covey said, also in a prepared statement.
"We believe the actions announced today coupled with the work underway by teams of employees to redesign our care delivery processes will both substantially decrease our costs and further improve the quality of care."
Central Maine Healthcare includes three hospitals: Bridgton Hospital, Central Maine Medical Center and Rumford Hospital; the Central Maine Medical Group of more than 325 employed physicians and associate professional staff; long term care facilities and other health-related companies. The annual operating budget is $418 million, according to the release.