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MaineHealth officials hold press conference on capacity challenges across health system

The largest health network in Maine is facing a major staffing loss as hospitals are full during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MAINE, USA — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired Sept. 9, 2021.

Officials from across the MaineHealth system updated the public Tuesday on capacity challenges the health system faces.

Watch full press conference

The following officials participated:

  • Andrew Mueller, M.D., MaineHealth Chief Executive Officer
  • Cindy Wade, R.N., LincolnHealth President
  • Joan Boomsma, M.D., MaineHealth Chief Medical Officer
  • Joel Botler, M.D., Maine Medical Center Chief Medical Officer
  • Lois Skillings, R.N., Mid Coast – Parkview Health President
  • Mark Fourre, M.D., Coastal Healthcare Alliance President

Hospitals in Maine have been feeling the stress of finding enough beds for patients, not all of whom have COVID. But as more COVID patients need treatment, it becomes more difficult to find space for all patients, COVID or non-COVID.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 and the vaccine in Maine

MaineHealth said in early September that it would postpone some elective surgeries to make room for those hospitalized with COVID.

Some examples of the surgeries that were postponed include hip and knee replacements, some back surgeries, and non-emergency abdominal or head and neck surgeries. In all cases, the procedures in question could be safely postponed. Boomsma told NEWS CENTER Maine the delays could have an impact on quality of life while a patient waits for care.

Health care worker shortages across Maine have also led some hospitals to scale back services in recent weeks. This isn't a new issue in Maine, but the pandemic has only made it worse. 

On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills announced new initiatives by her administration aimed at encouraging people to pursue health care jobs in Maine and strengthening the state’s health care workforce.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video below aired Aug. 26, 2021.