MaineHealth signals capacity challenges for health care system likely to continue in the months ahead – MaineHealth

PORTLAND, Maine – Leaders from across MaineHealth, northern New England’s largest health system, said today that they expect capacity challenges for the region’s health care industry to persist in the months ahead and asked for understanding from patients and support from the community and policy makers.

Andrew Mueller, MD, chief executive of MaineHealth, said much of the challenge can be traced to a workforce shortage that has been building for some time, and he talked at length about the need to train more clinical professionals. He also said other factors are making it harder for health care providers to keep up with demand at this time.

“We’re still battling, just a really hot pandemic. We’re seeing the largest numbers of hospitalized patients since the pandemic began, right now,” said Mueller.

In addition, Mueller said, many patients who understandably delayed care are now arriving at MaineHealth hospitals much sicker, putting greater demand on the organization’s care team. Mueller also noted that the ongoing labor shortage is not just impacting MaineHealth, but health care organizations across the region. That in turn is making it hard to transition patients out of the hospital to skilled nursing facilities and to behavioral health facilities.

Mueller said that, while departures from the health care workforce over the state of Maine requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will have some impact in the short-term, the real challenge is with overall long term trends in the labor market. Mueller presented data that showed that infections and quarantines related to COVID-19 have been a significant challenge for the health care system and that vaccination was the right way to keep care team members, patients and communities safe.

“It’s very clear to us that the vaccine mandate really helps to protect and preserve our work force.,” said Mueller, who added that having the full care team at MaineHealth vaccinated is not only consistent with what is best for patients and the community, but supports the organization’s vision of ‘Working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.’

During the Tuesday virtual press conference, Joel Botler, MD, chief medical officer of Maine Medical Center, shared that the state’s largest hospital is seeing unprecedented demand. This is resulting in ongoing evaluation of, and rescheduling of some, non-emergent procedures at the hospital. Also, the MMC emergency department has been on frequent “diversion” in recent weeks, meaning that only life-threatening and other critical cases are taken in and others are …….


Posted on

Leave a Reply