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July 31, 2018

CMMC joins Rumford and Bridgton hospitals in 'no confidence' vote against CEO

Central Maine Healthcare
Central Maine Healthcare
The medical staff at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston joined the staffs of Bridgton and Rumford hospitals in voting that they have "no confidence" in Jeff Brickman, president and chief executive officer of Central Maine Healthcare.

About Central Maine Healthcare

CMHC is an integrated health care delivery system serving some 400,000 people living in central, western and mid-coast Maine. Its hospital facilities include Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital. CMHC also supports the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, located at CMMC in Lewiston, and the Central Maine Medical Group, a primary and specialty care practice organization with offices throughout the region. CMHC is one of the area's largest employers, with roughly 4,000 employees at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, hospitals in Rumford and Bridgton, the Dempsey Center, the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute and medical practices throughout central and western Maine.

The medical staff at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston has joined the medical staffs at Rumford Hospital and Bridgton Hospital in voting that they have "no confidence" in Central Maine Healthcare CEO Jeff Brickman.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reported that the tally of Monday night's no-confidence vote by CMMC's staff was 100-66, with a few employees abstaining.

Similar votes were held in the last two weeks at the other two hospitals that are part of the nonprofit Central Maine Healthcare, which in addition to the three hospitals includes the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, located at CMMC in Lewiston, and the Central Maine Medical Group, a primary and specialty care practice organization with offices throughout the region. Staff at all three hospitals said their votes are intended to convey their unhappiness over Brickman's management style and concerns about finances and cuts in services, the newspaper reported.

CMHC serves 400,000 people living in central, western and mid-coast Maine, according to its website.

Brickman took over as CMHC's president and CEO in September 2016, succeeding incumbent President and CEO Peter E. Chalke, who had announced his retirement at the start of that year. Chalke had served in that role since 2002 and had been with Central Maine Healthcare for 33 years.

Soon after assuming the leadership of the 4,000-plus-employee health care system, Brickman hired Illinois-based consulting firm Kaufman Hall to develop a plan for the hospital system's future in the face of a significant budget shortfall over the past fiscal year, the Sun Journal reported in December 2018.

"I am working ... to make sure that we can sustain this organization for the long term because of the community dependence on what we do for them," Brickman told the newspaper at that time.

Last summer CMHC announced plans to close an urgent-care facility in Auburn and a clinic in Mechanic Falls as part of its overall effort to reduce costs. The Sun Journal reported at that time the cost-cutting step would eliminate 31 jobs and that both facilities were losing money. Brickman told the newspaper that the job reductions, which included nine physicians, would reduce the health system's expenses by 8% to 10%.

Board taking steps to 'restore trust'

The Sun Journal, citing a memo sent to CMHC employees last Friday, quoted board Chairwoman Dunlap Avasthi in stating that the board had "heard clearly and is taking swift steps to address" concerns of the medical staffs.

CMHC's spokeswoman declined comment on that memo, the newspaper reported.

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