LEWISTON — The medical staffs at all three Central Maine Healthcare hospitals have now said they have no confidence in CEO Jeff Brickman.

Jeff Brickman, president and CEO of Central Maine HealthCare

The staff at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, one of the largest hospitals in the state, issued their no-confidence vote Monday evening. According to one staff member who asked to remain anonymous, the vote was 100-66, with a few people abstaining.

It is the last of the system’s three hospitals to vote against Brickman. Bridgton Hospital’s medical staff voted no confidence two weeks ago, and Rumford Hospital’s medical staff voted no confidence last week.

CMMC is part of nonprofit Central Maine Healthcare, which also owns Bridgton Hospital, Rumford Hospital and a collection of medical practices in 15 communities. With about 4,000 workers, Central Maine Healthcare is one of the largest employers in the area.

A Central Maine Healthcare spokeswoman said system officials would have no comment Monday night but may issue a statement Tuesday.

Brickman was named CEO of the hospital system two years ago. He replaced Peter Chalke, who retired after 33 years at Central Maine Healthcare, 14 years as CEO. Brickman has made no secret of the system’s financial problems, or of the need to make changes.


Staffers throughout the hospital system have said 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.

The votes are symbolic, meant to convey the staffs’ unhappiness to the Central Maine Healthcare board of directors and urge it to do something.

Such no-confidence votes are highly unusual in Maine hospitals, according to one expert.

The Sun Journal obtained a memo that CMHC board Chairwoman Deborah Dunlap Avasthi sent to CMHC employees on Friday, just days after the Bridgton and Rumford votes. In the memo, she tells staff that the board “heard clearly and is taking swift steps to address” concerns.

“Our overarching objective is stabilization, in order for us to achieve our mission of providing the highest quality care to the populations we serve,” she wrote, adding later, “We apologize that many of our employees, providers, patients and community members have experienced discontent with the institution and concern for its future.”

She said board members have met with the chief of the medical staff for CMMC, Bridgton and Rumford hospitals, as well as other providers. She said the board also asked an independent consulting physician to meet with nearly 50 medical providers over two days to learn more about their concerns.

“We will work to restore trust, improve collaboration and maintain communication,” she wrote. “As we move forward we ask for your support, patience and continued commitment.”

Avasthi said the board will move quickly to develop plans to address staff members’ concerns, but she did not provide more detail about the board’s next steps or how, exactly, it will address concerns.

Central Maine Healthcare’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the memo, saying she could not discuss internal communications.

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