Pen Bay cutting positions, expenses to deal with $2.7 million operating loss

Pen Bay Interim Chief Executive Officer Mark Biscone.
Walter Griffin | BDN
Pen Bay Interim Chief Executive Officer Mark Biscone.
Posted May 21, 2014, at 1:48 p.m.
Last modified May 21, 2014, at 3:18 p.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — Cuts totaling $2 million are being made at Pen Bay Medical Center to curb operating losses at the hospital that serves Knox County.

Interim Chief Executive Officer Mark Biscone said Wednesday that to reduce expenses the hospital will, among other things, not fill some vacant positions and share services with Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast and the Miles Campus at LincolnHealth in Damariscotta.

Pen Bay suffered a $2.7 million operating loss for the first six months of the fiscal year, Biscone said. The goal of the cuts and changes is to come close to breaking even by the end of the budget year on Sept. 30.

He said 60 percent of Maine hospitals have operating losses.

When Pen Bay’s 2013-2014 budget of $87.4 million was adopted last year, hospital officials projected they would end the year with a $4 million operating surplus. Biscone said inadequate reimbursements, largely from Medicare, and fewer people using the services are behind the losses.

Six positions, including administrative and finance posts that were empty, will not be filled, he said.

The hospital also is making changes in radiology and oncology care. Pen Bay will be contracting with Spectrum Medical Group Radiologists to provide radiology services, replacing the three radiologists who have provided that service.

The hospital sought proposals from different groups, a process, he said, that began before Biscone became interim CEO in mid-March. A committee that included 14 local physicians evaluated the three proposals and recommended Spectrum, he said.

That change will occur near the end of the year, Biscone said.

Also by the end of the year, the single oncologist at Pen Bay will be leaving. The oncologist at Waldo County Hospital will then serve both hospitals, Biscone said. As recently as four years ago, Pen Bay had two full-time oncologists, doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancers.

Biscone said he analyzed the need and determined that the number of patients could be served with a single oncologist covering Knox and Waldo counties.

The two hospitals already share multiple doctors, he said, including in urology, nephrology and vascular surgery.

The hospital also will try to increase revenues. The proposals to generate more income include getting more patients for the sleep lab and having more patients get their prescriptions from the hospital pharmacy.

Pen Bay, Wado County and LincolnHealth are all part of the parent corporation MaineHealth.

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