Hospitals forced to ration care – Legislature must act before it is too late
LETTER TO PRESIDING OFFICERS
October 12, 2021
President Troy Jackson 3 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Speaker Ryan Fecteau
2 State House Station
August, ME 04333
Dear President Jackson and Speaker Fecteau,
We recently attended a meeting with members of the leadership team at Central Maine Healthcare and members of the Androscoggin Delegation, at which it was presented to us that unless there is a testing exemption to Governor Mills’ vaccine mandate their healthcare system will be forced to ration care due to lack of staffing. Central Maine Healthcare is not alone among Maine health systems facing this November 1st crisis.
As the Republican Leaders of the Senate and House we are writing to request that we convene the Legislature to amend the Governor’s mandate to allow for a testing exemption. Central Maine Healthcare is pleading for us to allow regular testing, whether it is weekly, twice a week so that they can continue to serve Mainers. This is the policy that was in place for the last year and worked without incident. A bill amending the Governor’s mandate that allows for healthcare workers to provide negative tests to continue working would ensure that empty ICU beds were available to those who need them; it would prevent six hour long waits in the ER as short staffed units attempt to triage; it would ensure minority communities in our cities get the care they need, and protect Maine’s elderly by getting them into long term care and out of the hospital setting.
Mainers should not be denied access to healthcare because the Governor refuses to act to keep hospital beds available.
It is our responsibility to remove this self-imposed rationing of care. The impact on Mainers of doing nothing is devastating across health systems. From our nursing homes, who will be unable to take new patients which will further limit the beds available at our hospitals, to EMS workers responsible for getting emergency cases to the hospitals, we are heading to a breaking point. We have enclosed the “CMMC Diversions” alert from Central Maine Healthcare. It is not hyperbole to suggest Mainers will die as a result of the Governor’s mandate if we refuse to convene the legislature and enact a testing exemption.
We implore you to poll legislators to bring back the Legislature so this impending crisis can be addressed. We must convene so that Mainers continue to have access to the healthcare they need at our hospitals and nursing homes. We must act quickly or watch as Maine’s healthcare workers, sick, and elderly all suffer under this misguided policy.
Senator Jeffrey Timberlake
Senate Republican Leader
Representative Kathleen Dillingham
House Republican Leader
Cc: Governor Janet Mills
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CMMC DIVERSIONS OCTOBER 11
Central Maine Medical Center is temporarily suspending pediatrics admissions. Pediatric patients who arrive at the CMMC Emergency Department will be evaluated, stabilized and, if needed, transferred to another facility for inpatient treatment,
Central Maine Medical Center is temporarily suspending ST EMI (heart attack) admissions, Patients who arrive at the CMMC Emergency Department with chest pain will be screened and stabilized, undergo a cardiac evaluation as needed and, if necessary, transferred to another facility for treatment.
Central Maine Medical Center is temporarily suspending trauma admissions. Patients who arrive at the CMMC Emergency Department with trauma will be screened and stabilized, undergo a trauma evaluation as needed and, if necessary, transferred to another facility for treatment.