AUGUSTA — MaineGeneral Health will lay off 16 employees in July because of lower patient volumes and overstaffing at the new regional hospital.

Chief Executive Officer Chuck Hays said the fiscal year 2015 budget, which starts in July, eliminates 128 full-time jobs, most of which are vacant. Sixteen people will lose their jobs, however.

Hays said only two of the positions involve direct interaction with patients, and most are in management. Some departments will be consolidated under the supervision of one manager.

MaineGeneral has about 4,300 employees and a budget of $456 million for this year. The organization opened its $312 million north Augusta hospital, the Alfond Center for Health, in November and is making $10 million in improvements at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville, which will consist of outpatient care offices.

Hays said the new hospital is overstaffed.

“The new hospital is more efficient, so as you get used to the building and give people time to acclimate, now it’s time to go back and right-size the staffing,” he said.

MaineGeneral also anticipates lower inpatient volumes because MaineCare – the state’s Medicaid program – is not being expanded, and the organization’s providers are managing the care of high-cost patients in new ways. Changes to a diabetic’s care, for example, may mean they need less health care overall because they don’t have to go to an emergency room or be admitted to a hospital.

The occupancy rate for beds at the Alfond Center for Health is still high, at 88 percent. It was 86 percent in December, a month after the hospital opened.

The patients being admitted have more acute needs and are staying longer, Hays said, but reimbursements are per patient.

“So whether you stay here three days or you stay here nine days, we get the same reimbursement,” Hays said.

Susan McMillan can be contacted at 621-5645 or at:

[email protected]