Jobs cut to save budget at Central Maine Medical Center

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.

Central Maine Medical Center's logo

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.

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Chalke one up for CMMC

So, the administrators took a 8 percent pay cut? How generous. If you look at MaineBiz's annual report, Peter Chalke is the highest paid healthcare administrator in the state, wiith annual compensation (salary, benefits aind long-term compensation) at $1.9 million and he manages a $35 million organization.

As a comparison, his pay 'cut' is $12,000 more that DHHS Commissioner's annual salary of $102,000 (public record). And DHHS has a $3.3 billion budget.

I'm not sure how Mr. Chalke will make end's meet with his nearly $1.8 million package. Perhaps we shoud do a fund-raiser.

I drive by St. Mary's and CMMC on a regular basis as a Lewiston resident. In the last year, each hospital has been undergoing remodeling or new construction. Hospitals build and build and build and systems grow and grow and grow.

In these economic times, something's got to give.

The state has to find a way to square with hospitals, no question. But laying tihs all at the feet of 'the state' is unfortunate.

Tighten up, reduce overhead, stop building and trim administrative costs.

It's not rocket science. You'd think a man worthy of a $1.9 million salary would be able to figure this out.

Good luck brown-bagging in Mr. Chalke.

$1.78 mill certainly doesn't buy what it used to.

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CMMC had already signed the

CMMC had already signed the construction contract when they found out that Baldacci and his friends werent going to pay the bill. The answer is not to lay off people but if the state of Maine wants to continue to hand everyone in the state a Mainecare card and not force jobs than they need to start paying thier bills. CMMC should sue and recoop the money.

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has been in a constat state of construction since the 80's. then the admin wants to blame the State for thier unbalanced budget? how about you stop expanding uncontrollably instead of letting people go?

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Didn't Chalke just get a nice fat raise a few months ago? One gets a raise, 35 get the boot? Oh, okay...

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Why isn't the State of ME policing itself?

It's unfortunate that while the State of Maine continues to get fat, those impacted by it's gluttony must continue to suffer. Shame on Augusta!

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Your name is a misnomer and

Your name is a misnomer and if you are a enrolled as a Republican you are misguided in your grasp of the party variances. It is the Democrats who believe the answer to all is to tax people who work hard to provide for themselves and their families in order to subsidizes those who wont.

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Misread, definitely, misread.

Misread, definitely, misread. I was referring to charging an additional 5% tax on top earners going back to 1960 to support those not working. I wasn't referring to hospital workers.

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My orginal comment was that

My orginal comment was that "WidestanceRepublican" is a misnomer given his comments it should be "WidestanceDemocrat." I was pointing out that advocating tax hikes is a Democrat ploy especially when it is singling out working people to subsidize benefits to those who wont work. I was not refering to paying the hospitals or laying of workers, I can only imagine that among the folks that "widestance" should be "democrat" would have hit with another 5% in taxes are those very same hospital workers now being laidoff.

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Oh, the irony! Commonsense? Insert eye roll here...


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