RUMFORD — Less than a week after Bridgton Hospital medical staff issued a no-confidence vote in Central Maine Healthcare CEO Jeff Brickman, Rumford Hospital medical staff have voted no confidence as well.  

Staffers who were at the meeting but asked to remain anonymous said 15 to 20 people participated in the vote Tuesday night. A few abstained. The rest voted no confidence.

Rumford and Bridgton hospitals are part of nonprofit Central Maine Healthcare, which also owns Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and a collection of medical practices in 15 communities. With about 4,000 workers, Central Maine Healthcare is one of the largest employers in the area.

Tuesday’s meeting means staff at two of Central Maine Healthcare’s three hospitals have now voted no confidence, a symbolic move meant to convey unhappiness to the Central Maine Healthcare board of directors.

CMMC staffers in Lewiston have said they plan to hold their own vote, possibly next week.

Central Maine Healthcare spokeswoman Kate Carlisle released a statement Thursday.

“We take very seriously the recent activities at Rumford and Bridgton Hospitals, which we understand is an expression of medical staff concerns regarding the necessary changes made to ensure the long-term financial health of our hospitals and health system,” the statement read.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to all CMH hospitals, and our team of clinicians and staff who are devoted to providing the highest-quality care to the communities we serve,” according to the statement.

“We realize that the changes have been hard, but we also know that health care is changing rapidly and hospitals must adapt to ensure a strong future. Our board members, senior leadership and providers continue to be actively engaged in ongoing efforts to address these concerns and lay the groundwork for a successful future.”

Staffers throughout the hospital system say they recognize the need for change and to save money, but they dislike Brickman’s management style — which they consider harsh — and they are concerned about ongoing financial problems and cuts in services. 

One doctor at the Rumford meeting said the staff’s no-confidence vote does not extend to David Frum, president of Rumford and Bridgton hospitals. The doctor said staffers do not believe Frum is to blame for changes and challenges facing the hospitals and they appreciate his leadership. 

The no-confidence vote was expected to be presented to the Central Maine Healthcare board of directors at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. That meeting was not open to the public and media is not allowed to attend Central Maine Healthcare’s private board meetings. A spokesperson declined to comment on what happened at the meeting.

Brickman was named CEO of the hospital system two years ago. He replaced Peter Chalke, who retired after 33 years at Central Maine Healthcare, 14 years as CEO.

Since then, several key administrators have left, including CMMC President Tina Legere and Chief Nursing Officer Sharron Chalke, wife of the former CEO.

Brickman has made no secret of the system’s financial problems, nor of the need to make changes.

In 2016, Brickman hired consultants from Kaufman Hall to compare Central Maine Healthcare to other systems in performance, quality, finances and other measures. He declined at the time to say how much the consulting group would cost, except to say it would be “a lot of money” and “a very significant investment in resources” that would be taken out of the health system’s strategic reserves.

In 2017, Central Maine Healthcare dropped the previous administration’s plan to move some services into Bates Mill No. 5, laid off 28 workers and let the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston take over operations of the Central Maine Medical Center Fitness and Wellness Center at 12 High St.

Also in 2017, Central Maine Healthcare closed its urgent care center in Auburn. Less than a year later, it decided to open one in Topsham. That urgent care facility is slated to open in September.

Portland Press Herald staff writer Joe Lawlor contributed to this report.

[email protected]

Jeff Brickman, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, on the LifeFlight helipad at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston shortly after he took over in 2016. (Sun Journal file photo)