BANGOR, Maine — Job eliminations, overtime reductions and construction delays are among cost-saving measures announced Tuesday by Eastern Maine Medical Center. In a memo delivered to employees, President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Carey Johnson said the cuts are essential to “getting EMMC back on track — both with this year’s budget and with permanent cost reductions for our patients.”
Johnson said the measures reflect a comprehensive review of the recommendations of managers and department heads throughout the hospital who were asked to identify ways to cut their budgets. Suggestions from individual employees also were considered, she said.
“Our commitment stands to preserve employment to the fullest extent possible,” she said. “We must pursue all options to improve EMMC’s position for the future.”
The hospital will eliminate 52 vacant positions and 24 positions that now are filled, cutting clinical jobs as well as jobs in other areas of hospital operations. Affected employees will be given a two-week notice before the end of this week. Hospital spokeswoman Jill McDonald said it is hoped that displaced employees will be re-assigned to other vacant jobs at the medical center.
Ten other employees will have their hours cut, she said.
Other measures identified in the memo include reducing travel and conference expenses, eliminating the uniform allowance for nonunion employees, renegotiating supply contracts and postponing some capital expenditures.
Construction of the new CancerCare of Maine building in Brewer and the new parking garage on the hospital’s Bangor campus will continue, McDonald said, but some “internal infrastructure” projects may be put off, such as a new utilities corridor for the hospital.
A planned $200 million update of the main campus, which is expected to include a new patient care tower, new operating rooms and other elements, may be put on hold, she said, along with planned purchases of pricey new equipment.
The cutbacks are not being made “on a short-term basis to solve a short-term problem,” McDonald said.
“We are seeking responsible ways to reduce the cost of health care. It is made more urgent in the current economic environment. But this is long-term planning for the sustainment of Eastern Maine Medical Center,” she said.
According to tax forms posted on the hospital’s Web site, CEO Johnson’s pay in 2007 was $443,443, with an additional $259,174 in benefit plan contributions. The second-highest paid administrator that year was Dr. James Raczek, vice president and chief medical officer, who was compensated $352,755 with $39,347 in benefit plan contributions.
Asked whether executive salaries might also be affected by the cutbacks at the hospital, McDonald said she was not aware of any discussion of the matter.