PORTLAND — Maine Medical Center said it has set a hiring freeze and other cuts to offset a $13.6 million operating loss in the first six months of its fiscal year.

The hospital has faced a drop of inpatient and outpatient volumes, an increase in the number of patients who need free care or can’t pay their bills and a decline in payments from Medicare and MaineCare, according to a letter from Maine Med’s President and Chief Executive Richard Petersen. A copy of the letter was provided to the Portland Press Herald.

In addition to the hiring freeze, the hospital has frozen some travel, cut its catering costs and reduced overtime. It also will delay the further roll-out of the Shared Electronic Health Record initiative throughout MaineHealth.

“We are using the resources of MaineHealth to engage in active dialogue with our state and federal delegation to help them understand the impact of government payor cuts on our ability to care for our communities,” Petersen said in the letter.

Maine owes the state’s 39 hospitals $186 million for Medicaid reimbursements. Paying that bill would release $298 million in payments from the federal government. Gov. Paul LePage has proposed a measure to use revenues from a new state liquor contract to repay the hospitals.



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