LEWISTON — Central Maine Medical Center, one of three trauma centers in the state, is ending its neurosurgical trauma program in 60 days, officials confirmed Monday.

“In order to allocate resources to areas of greatest need in our communities, Central Maine Medical Center has made the decision to eliminate neurosurgery coverage,” Central Maine Medical Group President Dr. Jason Krupp said in a statement.

Officials did not say what factors contributed to this decision nor is it clear if it is limited to trauma cases or applies to all neurosurgical services at the hospital.

“CMMC continues to provide 24/7 trauma surgery coverage and orthopedic trauma coverage.”

CMMC will still be able to stabilize neurosurgical trauma patients in the emergency department before being transferred to another facility, Krupp said.

“This is a strategic decision that has been under consideration for some time,” he said.


Neurosurgical trauma care encompasses traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, skull and spinal fractures, brain bleeds and other conditions.

The Maine EMS Trauma Advisory Committee will convene Tuesday for an emergency session to meet with leadership from CMMC and emergency medical service providers from around the state.

Maine EMS is a division of the Maine Department of Public Safety.

“From our perspective, we need to come together with Central Maine to (hear) what they have to say and develop a plan for what we need to do to ensure that patients continue to get the trauma care they need,” committee Chairperson Rick Petrie said Monday.

“That doesn’t mean (CMMC) can’t offer other trauma services to patients who need it, so we need to go through all of that tomorrow and come up with a plan moving forward to ensure that there is as little impact as possible on patients, and then on the hospitals that are involved and on the EMS (providers),” he said.

CMMC is one of three American College of Surgeons-certified trauma centers in the state, along with Maine Medical Center in Portland and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.


At a news conference last week, officials from Maine Med’s parent company, MaineHealth, the largest health care network in the state, said that providers systemwide are being stretched to the limit by the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew Mueller said that Maine Med’s emergency department has had to frequently go on diversion, meaning that EMS providers are advised to only take the most critical patients to the hospital.

A spokesperson from EMMC, which is operated by Northern Light Health, was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Members of the Maine National Guard will arrive at health care facilities across the state later this week, including at CMMC. Gov. Janet Mills’ administration submitted a request to the federal government on behalf of CMMC and Maine Med for rapid response medical teams on Dec. 8.

Maine Med’s request was approved last Thursday afternoon with a team arriving over the weekend. CMMC’s application was still pending as of Monday evening, the governor’s office said.

EMS providers should use their “best clinical judgment” when transporting neurotrauma patients to a hospital, Maine EMS said in an operational bulletin posted Friday afternoon. Providers were advised to take patients to Maine Med or EMMC if transport time is less than 45 minutes and to the nearest hospital for stabilization if transport time would exceed 45 minutes.


Maine Med and EMMC are about 40 miles and 110 miles, respectively, from CMMC. Travel time by ground from Lewiston, depending on conditions, is about 45 minutes to Maine Med and nearly two hours to EMMC.

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, also in Lewiston, is not a trauma center and does not typically take trauma cases through its emergency department, spokesperson Steve Costello said, but that doesn’t mean providers are not able to stabilize a patient for transfer.

Tom Judge, the executive director LifeFlight of Maine, said the medical air transport service isn’t likely to see an uptick in the number of neurotrauma patients it transfers, “but certainly the trajectory of patients that would have gone to CMMC (that are) now going to EMMC or MMC.”

“The much higher impact on LifeFlight at the moment remains COVID with every hospital full and our community hospitals struggling to find hospitals able to accept a patient,” he said.

Petrie, from the Maine EMS Trauma Advisory Committee, said he has “every confidence” that the state’s EMS system will be able to handle this change.

“Whatever happens tomorrow can’t overshadow the commitment and the role that CMMC has played in the development and the implementation and the daily operation of the trauma system in the state of Maine,” he said.

The Trauma Advisory Committee will convene at 1 p.m. Tuesday via Zoom. For more information on how to attend the public meeting, visit maine.gov/ems.

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