PORTLAND – Mercy Health System of Maine is reorganizing and eliminating 75 positions, partly in response to the continued economic slowdown and a decline in patients at its hospital.

Mercy also plans to add about 40 positions over the next six to eight months in its primary care and specialty care centers, which continue to expand. A new primary and express care center opened recently in Gorham, and another is scheduled to open early next year in the Yarmouth-Cumberland area.

Some of the hospital staff members who are laid off may fill new positions, and employees who are not placed will receive severance packages and outplacement assistance, the company said. The overall reduction amounts to about 2 percent of Mercy’s 1,657 employees.

Mercy’s announcement Tuesday followed the elimination of 58 positions in March. About half of the workers affected by those cuts moved into new jobs in expanding areas of the company, a spokeswoman said.

The ongoing reorganization is partly a response to declining demand in some areas, as people defer elective procedures for economic reasons or receive care in an outpatient setting instead of being admitted to the hospital.

It also reflects a long-term move toward more technologically advanced systems, modern facilities and coordinated care, according to the company.

“Mercy is built on a foundation of concern for individuals and for our community, so any reduction in staffing is particularly painful,” said Eileen Skinner, president and CEO of Mercy, in a written statement.

“We believe that being proactive is crucial for all health care organizations at this time of rapid change, in both our health care system and our economy,” she said.

Skinner said changes that are happening in the health care industry, and in the economy, require innovation.

“In addition,” she said, “we have a duty to the community and local businesses, which are also tightening their belts, to provide the best care value to our patients.”

Mercy Health System of Maine has hospital services at its Fore River, State Street and Westbrook campuses, primary and specialty care practices in communities throughout southern Maine, and community-based services such as VNA Home Health & Hospice.

 

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at: [email protected]