LEWISTON — Central Maine Healthcare is closing its urgent care facility on Center Street in Auburn and a clinic in Mechanic Falls and cutting 38 jobs, part of what CEO Jeff Brickman called the last of the “major cost reductions we’ve been going through the last nine months.”

Ten of the jobs are physicians, nine associate professionals and 19 support staff. Staff were told on Wednesday morning.

Brickman said the job losses will be tough, but are part of having now reduced the health system’s expenses by 8 to 10 percent. After losing $12 million in 2016, he’s now forecasting a profitable 2018.

CFO David Thompson said both the urgent care facility, which opened just over a year ago, and the Mechanic Falls office, a primary care practice open since 2004, had been losing money.

Urgent care is expected to close in a month, the Mechanic Falls practice on Sept. 15. Twenty-eight of the cut positions were at those two locations; the other 10 are single losses within other practices.

Thompson estimated half of the 38 people would likely be able to find work in other open positions within the health system.

“We’re not walking away from urgent care,” Thompson said. “We believe that urgent care is a viable model and you will probably expect within a year or so that we would redeploy or reopen urgent care, but obviously in a different location and set it up from the start in a much better manner so it would be successful. We would have done it much different, and in the future we will do it different.”

Spokeswoman Ericka Dodge said the hospital found many urgent care visitors were already patients within the CMHC system.

“For earaches and sore throats, we really want people to have relationships with primary care,” she said. “We know that’s what helps preventative health.”

Plans are in the works to redesign some practices’ schedules with longer hours, walk-in hours and time set aside for new and same-day patients.

The system will look at its real estate holdings and decide which property it should keep, which should be consolidated and which should be sold, Brickman said.

Brickman started at the helm of CMHC last September and has been aggressively examining programs and costs, part of what he called a 18- to 24-month plan to create sustainability.

News in the coming months will be positive, he said, as the hospital starts to talk about new partnerships, program development, new technology, new markets and new jobs.

“That will create a very different Central Maine Healthcare system as we go forward,” he said. 

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Central Maine Healthcare announced Wednesday that it’s closing its urgent care facility on Center Street in Auburn, just over a year after it opened. Hospital officials said urgent care and a Mechanic Falls practice, also closing, were losing money.