On March 15, 2020, Governor Janet Mills issued an executive order recommending the postponement of all non-urgent medical procedures, elective surgeries, and appointments at hospitals and healthcare providers across the state to free up Maine’s healthcare system to handle an influx of patients with COVID-19.  Almost overnight, all non-emergency care at Maine hospitals and health practices came to an abrupt halt.  The order would remain in effect until May 1.

Responding to the pandemic, Maine hospitals sprang into action by:

• Converting physical space to special care wards;

• Setting up testing locations;

• Suspending medical procedures and services;

• Purchasing personal protective equipment;

• Hiring additional staff;

• And more.


Their response was unprecedented, and it came at a high cost:

• Emergency department visits fell 50%;

• Operating room volume fell 60%;

• Operating margins fell an average of 11%; and

• Expenses for every hospital discharge rose 12%.


Congress has funded various relief packages, but they have only covered a portion of Maine hospital losses.

Maine hospitals’ short-term losses are approximately $600 million. But Maine hospitals have received only $365 million.  

Maine hospitals were already struggling before COVID-19 hit.  In 2018, 15 of Maine’s 36 hospitals had negative operating margins.  The average aggregate margin of Maine hospitals is only 0.9%–barely in the black.  Maine hospitals cannot provide care to the people of Maine if they are bleeding money.  Contact your members of Congress and ask them to support frontline hospital workers in their next relief package.

Hospitals care for everyone.  Now lawmakers must care for hospitals.

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