RUMFORD — Less than a week after Bridgton Hospital medical staff issued a no-confidence vote in Central Maine Healthcare CEO Jeff Brickman, Rumford Hospital medical staff have voted no confidence as well.

Staff members who were at the meeting but asked to remain anonymous said 15 to 20 people participated in the vote Tuesday night. A few abstained and the rest voted no confidence, the staff members said.

Rumford and Bridgton hospitals are part of nonprofit CMHC, which also owns Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and a collection of medical practices in 15 communities. With about 4,000 workers, CMHC is one of the largest employers in the Lewiston area. Tuesday’s meeting means staff at two of CMHC’s three hospitals have now voted no confidence, a symbolic move meant to convey unhappiness to the CMHC board. CMMC staff members in Lewiston have said they plan to hold their own vote, possibly next week.

In a prepared statement Thursday, CMHC spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said, “We take very seriously the recent activities at Rumford and Bridgton hospitals, which we understand is an expression of medical staff concerns regarding the necessary changes made to ensure the long-term financial health of our hospitals and health system. We are steadfast in our commitment to all CMH hospitals, and our team of clinicians and staff who are devoted to providing the highest-quality care to the communities we serve.

“We realize that the changes have been hard, but we also know that health care is changing rapidly and hospitals must adapt to ensure a strong future,” the statement said. “Our board members, senior leadership and providers continue to be actively engaged in ongoing efforts to address these concerns and lay the groundwork for a successful future.”

Staff members throughout the hospital system say they recognize the need for change and to save money, but they dislike Brickman’s management style – which they consider harsh – and they are concerned about ongoing financial problems and cuts in services.

One doctor at the Rumford meeting said the staff’s no-confidence vote does not extend to David Frum, president of Rumford and Bridgton hospitals. The doctor said staff members do not believe Frum is to blame for changes and challenges facing the hospitals right now and they appreciate his leadership.

The no-confidence vote was expected to be presented to CMHC board members at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. That meeting was not open to the public and a Sun Journal reporter was not allowed to attend. A CMHC spokesperson declined to comment on what happened at the meeting.

Brickman was named CEO of the hospital system two years ago. He replaced Peter Chalke, who retired after 33 years at CMHC, 14 of them as CEO.

Since then, several key administrators have left, including CMMC president Tina Legere and Chief Nursing Officer Sharron Chalke, wife of the former CEO.

Brickman has made no secret of the system’s financial problems, nor the need to make changes.

In 2016, he hired consultants from Kaufman Hall to compare CMHC to other systems in performance, quality, finances and other measures. He declined at the time to say how much the consulting group would cost CMHC, except to say it would be “a lot of money” and “a very significant investment in resources” that would be taken out of CMHC’s strategic reserves.

In 2017, CMHC dropped the previous administration’s plan to move some services into Bates Mill No. 5, laid off 28 workers and let the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston take over operations of the Central Maine Medical Center Fitness and Wellness Center at 12 High St.

Also in 2017, CMHC closed its urgent care center in Auburn. Less than a year later, it opened one in Topsham.

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