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Maine health systems say they've lost up to 5% of staff due to the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate


The state's largest health systems say they have lost between 2% and 5% of their workforce due to the Mills Administration's COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers. Enforcement of that statewide mandate began on Friday, and some health systems have been affected more than others.

Portland-based MaineHealth, which is the parent company of Maine Medical Center and several other hospitals across the state, says it lost two percent of its workforce to the mandate. That's similar to the figure reported last week by Bangor-based Northern just 191 employees.

"The staff is evenly split between clinical and on-clinical. It's about 50/50. But we have been planning for this for awhile, and although things are very tight from a labor perspective, we don't expect to scale back any of our health services," says
Chuck Hayes, CEO or MaineGeneral Health.

Hayes says MaineGeneral is offering incentives to staff to pick up extra shifts. It's also recruiting volunteers to temporarily fill non-clinical roles.

Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare, attributes the loss of 156 employees, just over 5%, to the mandate. The losses prompted CMH to temporarily suspend inpatient pediatric admissions and its special care nursery last month, and officials say that suspension will continue. Central Maine Medical Center's ICU is not operating at full capacity, its trauma service is evaluated daily, and the hospital has had to postpone some elective surgeries.

MaineHealth, the parent company of Maine Medical Center, says it lost roughly 2% of employees. The latest figures from Northern Light Health report a similar loss.