Mercy Hospital on Tuesday laid off 31 employees, nearly two months after it offered retirement buyouts to 99 people.

The Portland hospital – which has about 1,500 full-time employees – cut workers in building maintenance, housekeeping, environmental services and other clinical and administrative positions. No doctors or nurses were laid off, although some nurses were eligible for the buyouts.

Forty-seven had accepted the early-retirement incentive that was announced in July, which was one week’s pay for each year worked, and was offered to selected employees age 60 and older.

Mercy spokesman Wayne Clark said not enough people accepted the early-retirement offer, making layoffs necessary.

“While it is difficult to see colleagues leave, it is necessary if we are to realize our vision of a strong Mercy Hospital,” Clark said in a statement. “This is a way to size our workforce to fit market demands. Of course, we will not compromise the quality and personal nature of the care we’re known for.”

Those laid off will receive a minimum of six to 10 weeks of severance pay, depending on how many years they worked for the hospital.

Melissa Skahan, Mercy’s vice president of mission effectiveness, said trimming the workforce is also part of the strategy to consolidate operations at Mercy’s new Fore River complex. The hospital’s State Street location will be closed in about three years when the Fore River expansion is completed.

In 2014, Mercy announced an $80 million to $100 million expansion project at the Fore River complex that would add about 250,000 square feet of hospital space and nearly 170,000 square feet of new offices.

Skahan said in planning for the move to Fore River, the hospital uncovered inefficiencies in its operations.

“We can deliver these services in a more effective and efficient manner,” she said.

Skahan said one example is consolidating interventional radiology services into one room, which allowed the hospital to reduce the radiology workforce while still serving the same number of patients. Interventional radiology refers to a minimally invasive, image-guided diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases.

“We strive to be a low-cost provider while still delivering high quality services,” Skahan said.

She said the hospital – which became part of Brewer-based Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems in 2013 – does not plan to further reduce its workforce in preparation for the move to the Fore River complex.

Mercy operates with about $500 million in revenues, according to its 2014 IRS Form 990, a record that nonprofits must file publicly.

Mercy’s layoffs were announced a week after Maine Medical Center revealed plans for a $512 million expansion, including the largest increase in the square footage of its West End main campus in the hospital’s history. The Maine Med expansion will feature a new main entrance on Congress Street, 128 single room inpatient beds and 20 new operating rooms, and a new parking garage.

Joe Lawlor can be contacted at 791-6376 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: joelawlorph

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.