Entire Maine system votes no confidence in CEO

The medical staffs at all three hospitals within Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare have voted no confidence in the system's CEO, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Staff at Lewiston-based Central Maine Medical Center voted no confidence in system CEO Jeff Brickman during a vote July 30. An anonymous staff member told the Portland Press Herald the vote was 100-66, with few employees abstaining.

CHMC's two other hospitals — Rumford (Maine) Hospital and Bridgton (Maine) Hospital — voted no confidence in Mr. Brickman earlier this month. The health system operates the three hospitals and a variety of medical practices in 15 communities across the state. It is one of the largest employers in the area with 4,000 employees, the report states.

Employees throughout the system said the votes are symbolic and meant to convey their dissatisfaction with Mr. Brickman to CHMC's board of directors, urging them to take action. Staffers said they recognize the need for change and to conserve funds, but take issue with Mr. Brickman's management style, which some employees consider to be too harsh. They also voiced concerns about the system's ongoing fiscal issues and service cuts, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Mr. Brickman was named CEO of CMHC in 2016.

CMHC Board Chairwoman Deborah Avasthi sent a memo to employees July 27. The memo, cited by the Portland Press Herald, said the board has "heard [staff concerns] clearly and is taking swift steps to address" their concerns.

"Our overarching objective is stabilization, in order for us to achieve our mission of providing the highest quality care to the populations we serve," the memo stated. "We apologize that many of our employees, providers, patients and community members have experienced discontent with the institution and concern for its future."

Ms. Avasthi stated in the memo she and other board members met with the three hospitals' medical staff chief, as well as other medical providers. She also noted the board hired an independent consulting physician to meet with more than 50 providers over the course of two days to hear their concerns.

The board will work to develop a plan to address staff members' concerns. However, Ms. Avasthi did not provide additional details regarding the plan, the report states.

Ms. Avasthi and Mr. Brickman said in a joint statement to Becker's Hospital Review July 31: "These are challenging times for community hospitals and we are no exception. The CMH Board takes its fiduciary responsibilities very seriously. Last night's vote by the CMMC medical staff affirms their frustration and concerns with issues impacting our organization and required system changes. Importantly, it reflects a divided medical staff and speaks directly to the importance of communication and collaboration between senior leadership and our medical staff on how best to move CMH forward. We have a deep respect and appreciation for the many contributions of our Medical Staff and will carefully consider this feedback as we work through next steps."

To access the full Portland Press Herald report, click here.

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