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Health care staffing issues continue to affect central Maine area

Central Maine Medical Center has temporarily suspended pediatric and trauma admissions as the hospital suffers staffing shortages in many areas in the facility.

LEWISTON, Maine — Central Maine Medical Center officials have yet to publically comment on the workforce staffing issue that has led to a temporary suspension of some patient admissions at the Lewiston hospital.

Last week it announced pediatric and trauma admissions would be halted for now, but patients would be stabilized and sent to another hospital for care if necessary. 

In a statement, Chief Medical Examiner John Alexander said, “We have a shortage of team members throughout many of our critical patient care areas, including ED, critical care, surgical services and inpatient staffing, at all of our hospitals."

Credit: NCM

CMMC is reviewing patients who need to be admitted to the hospital and is reassigning staff to the areas most in need several times each day, according to the statement.

"In addition to the shortage of hospital-based healthcare workers and EMS personnel, there is also a shortage of clinic-based staff as well as healthcare workers in skilled nursing facilities and long-term care nursing homes," Alexander said.

The healthcare workforce issue is also affecting other areas in the Lewiston and Auburn area. Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque said the vaccine mandate has caused five EMS workers to leave the city's department.

"We’re trying to do everything we possibly can: increasing our budget, increasing our staff where we can, making tough decisions on triaging, what we respond to, when we respond to it and how we respond to it," he said.

CMMC leaders asked local lawmakers for help this month as they work to solve the staffing problem. One idea was to ask Governor Janet Mills to revise her vaccine mandate for health care workers by adding a testing exemption. The formal request was denied in a letter by Mills last week. 


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