MaineGeneral Health eyes budget that would lay off 16 employees, cut 128 positions

Posted May 22, 2014, at 5:29 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — MaineGeneral Health plans to cut 128 positions, most of which are vacant, as part of a budget proposal that would take effect in July.

The cuts would eliminate jobs for 16 employees, most of whom are in management, according to CEO Chuck Hays. He said he could not identify all of the positions that the hospital’s board of directors will consider eliminating as discussions with potentially affected employees are ongoing.

The 16 layoffs represent less than 1 percent of the health care network’s 4,300 employees.

“The actual 16 positions are mostly in management,” he said. “We took some departments that had two managers, and now we have one.”

Hays attributed the reductions to declining revenues driven by a reduction in Medicare reimbursements and the state not expanding the federal Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. He said the length of hospital stays and the acuity of conditions treated also have increased, which cuts into revenue as reimbursements are per patient.

“We continue to remain busy, but our length of stay and acuity is up,” he said. “And we get paid by the patient and not by how long they stay.”

The 128 position cuts also result, in part, because the health care network’s new $312 million Augusta hospital requires fewer staff, he said.

“We had increased our staff above the normal staffing limits for the new regional hospital and maintained that staffing to allow the employees to assimilate to the building,” Hays said.

Hays declined to say the amount of the proposed 2015 budget for the health care network because it still must receive board approval, but he said there are no substantial cuts planned for major services.

“We reduced discretionary spending like travel and things like that before we looked at staff reductions,” he said.

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