Pen Bay makes staff, fiscal cuts

By Stephanie Grinnell | May 27, 2014

Rockport — To offset an anticipated budget shortfall, Pen Bay Medical Center Interim Director Mark Biscone said job cuts will be required in addition to increasing revenue.

Many of the job losses will be attributed to unfilled positions or retiring personnel who will not be replaced, but one doctor — an oncologist — will be chopped from the staff, he said. To fill the gap created by the loss, a different oncologist from Waldo County General Hospital will see patients at both locations. Biscone said sharing the services of staff results in lower salary and benefit commitments for both hospitals.

"By doing so, it will reduce expenses," he said.

There are about a half dozen positions affected, with a number of them in administration. Patients should not notice any changes, Biscone said, as the nursing services saw very few fiscal cuts.

"Everybody chipped in a little here and a little there," Biscone said.

For five of the past seven years, Pen Bay has operated at a loss, taking in less money than it spends, according to Biscone.

He said spending reductions to the tune of $2 million have been mapped out and efforts already have proven successful. The hospital should be able to "at least break even" by Sept. 30, Biscone said. There are a number of physical plant issues that also need to be addressed which could potentially lead to cost savings, ranging from replacement of boilers and electrical work to switching heating fuel type, he said.

Biscone said he also is working to prepare for the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, which will increase in coming years to a total $15.5 million loss for Pen Bay.

"This is very serious," he said.

There are several options being considered to increase revenue at the hospital, he said, ranging from increasing use of the hospital's retail pharmacy to increased enrollment in the sleep lab programs. Consolidation of several services to a regional approach will also help save the hospital money, he said, adding home health care agencies will be regionalized and Maine Behavioral Health will take over management of the psychiatric care unit at Pen Bay. Refinancing of bonds issued in 2004 will also result in savings, he said.

April 30, Biscone hosted open discussions with Pen Bay staff and employees to outline the issues facing the hospital as well as the plans to address those issues.

According to information provided by Biscone, Pen Bay is not alone in suffering operating loses — 60 percent of hospitals operate in the red.

Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at

Comments (18)
Posted by: Susan P Reitman | Jun 01, 2014 00:39

In regards to Dr. Ben Carson I agree with Dr. Carson marriage is between a man and a woman. As far as Dr. Carson comparing same sex marriage to bestiality I am not aware he said that but that does not change my opinion of Dr. Carson.  Dr. Carson has a right to his opinion just like you have a right to your opinion.

Posted by: pat putnam | May 31, 2014 17:10

Ms. Reitman-

Would that be the same Ben Carson who compared same sex marriage to bestiality?

"Referring to a statement he made comparing same sex marriage to bestiality, Carson said, “I still believe marriage is between a man and woman.”"

I'm definitely going to look to look to him for guidance. Don't think so.

Posted by: Susan P Reitman | May 28, 2014 22:49

Ms. Matthews I beg you please read the books written by Dr. Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon who worked at John's Hopkins hospital.

Posted by: Kim Matthews | May 28, 2014 22:09

My post was more about the point of the people that are going through a horrible disease.  That includes surgery, chemo and radiation just to survive hopefully.  You can not tell me that there are not other cuts in the hospital that can be made in overhead. Maybe everyone's energy should be spent on trying to figure out how to help people that are going to need help then worrying about who is in Congress or the President of the United States. 

Posted by: Susan P Reitman | May 28, 2014 16:12

I am a cancer survivor [endometrial cancer in 2006 seven months after I moved to Maine], surgery at Maine Medical in Portland, ME with a wonderful doctor, was very lucky caught early did not have chemo or radiation. People who believe that politics should be kept out of this health care discussion have their heads in the sand. Health care now is all political and even with OBAMA CARE there are still people who will not have health insurance.  Look what is happening at the VA HEALTH CARE RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT!  What is happening in the VA IS RATIONING OF HEALTH CARE.  For the people who want health care run BY THE GOVERNMENT are in for a rude surprise.  I believe OBAMA'S ultimate goal is to screw the insurance companies, get them out of the mix, and have the government run health care [socialized medicine] where the government tells you what doctor you can or CANNOT see, what tests you are allowed, etc.  PEOPLE NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHAT THEY WISH FOR AND THOSE WHO THINK OBAMA CARE IS THE ANSWER ARE GOING TO BE BITTEN IN THE A@@ IN THE LONG RUN and the rest of us who could see the handwriting on the wall and tried to stop OBAMA CARE are going to be sucked up in the mess that is not of our making and that makes me VERY ANGRY!!!!!!!

Posted by: Susan Sinclair | May 28, 2014 12:54

Kim, hear hear!!

Posted by: Kim Matthews | May 28, 2014 11:25

My husband is a 11 year cancer survivor.  But part of his treatment, hopes and beliefs was because there was a doctor there if something went wrong or we need advice or to talk when he was having his treatment.  What are they supposed to do now say sorry you have to wait till tomorrow to talk to a doctor, I am sorry that you are going through a life threatening disease and feel like your whole life is turned upside down but you will have to wait!!!!  This is insane!!!!!


And by the way lets keep all the political stuff out of this discussiont and think about the people that are trying to survive this horrible disease called CANCER!!!

Posted by: Lisa A Whetstone | May 28, 2014 10:26

Susan...Well said!!! 

Posted by: Annette M Tolman | May 28, 2014 09:56

Pat - you have it right - let's think about the patients here for a minute.  I have a close family member who is an oncology patient, and they are feeling pretty abandoned right about now.  They already have to travel to Boston or New Hampshire to see any sort of specialist on the subject, had to travel to Augusta for radiation, can only get a PET scan once a month when they come to town, and will now have to fight for space to see a doctor they have never met before.  Of all things to cut - ONCOLOGY!!!????!!!!

What are these people thinking???  You can't turn around in this area without running into someone who has some sort of cancer.  We should be expanding our cancer services, not cutting them! 

Posted by: Susan P Reitman | May 28, 2014 09:45

Ms Sinclair I am not a Republican or Democrat; I am actually an Independent; although, in this state I had to register as a Republican why I don't remember now.  Ms. Sinclair evidently you are a Democrat which is your right of course but I hope you are not like my late grandfather.  My Grandfather was a died in the wool DEMOCRAT and would have voted for Jack the Ripper if he was a Democrat and WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE VOTE REPUBLICAN.  I have voted for Democrats, Republicans, Independents and I would vote for a Tea Party member because I always vote for the person I believe will do the best for the citizens of the United States.  Unfortunately today there is no difference in politicians because when they go to Washington power and money corrupts the majority of them  President Obama is a "SILVER TONGUED LIAR"  OBAMA reminds me so much of HITLER is is frightening.  OBAMA wants to take complete control of the American people and wants them rely on the government for everything so he will have compete control over them.  Unfortunately the congress is letting it happen and that I will never understand which is even more frightening.  You are probably correct OBAMA will never be impeached even though he has broken many laws which are impeachable offenses. The reason OBAMA will never be IMPEACHED, in my opinion, is because he is the first BLACK President and Congress will not have the BALLS to do it for fear of being called racist and there would probably be riots in the streets.  Have you noticed it is always the democrats bring up race into the dialogue and anyone who does agree with this is called a racist.  What is happening in Washington, is sad and very frightening, and I am afraid if OBAMA is allowed to stay in office until 2016 this country will never recover from the damage OBAMA and congress have done to this country.  I am 72 years old and this is the first time I have been afraid of my own government.

Posted by: pat putnam | May 28, 2014 09:32

"There are about a half dozen positions affected, with a number of them in administration. Patients should not notice any changes, Biscone said, as the nursing services saw very few fiscal cuts."

I want to respond to the article, specifically the quote above, because I think the patient experience is more important than the political agendas.

Does Mr. Biscone really expect that the patients in Oncology won't notice that their Doctor is GONE? All of a sudden someone who has been on call for them 24/7 isn't available anymore and they won't notice? And how about test's already very difficult to wait for those and now patients will have to wait even longer for their tests to be read by an out of house service?

Posted by: Susan Sinclair | May 28, 2014 06:43

You know, I'm actually kind of hoping the crazy Repubs get in with full fury to just get let them screw everyone over and get it out of everyone's system. OBAMA was ELECTED by A majority OF the voters. You don't have to like it, but please get over it, democracy is ok, really. He's not going to be impeached, the world will not end, you have your right to vote, suck it up, and put your big girl panties on.

Posted by: Clifton Yattaw, Jr | May 28, 2014 06:09

You are right Susan, but the libtards will find a way to blame George Bush for the failure.The unaffordable care act is a joke. The gov ruins everything it touches, V A hospitals, roads, schools, am track, the IRS the list goes on.Oh they do a great job of taking care of illegal's,  welfare recipients and prisoner's. Am i going to get some hate on this one

Posted by: Bridget & Richard Qualey/Stetson | May 28, 2014 00:37

Nothing like dropping a $15.5 million "hot potato" Ms. Grinnell. How about a little back ground reporting on Mr. Biscone's statement about that kind of "loss for Pen Bay". Why can't the Affordable Care Act be given a chance to succeed or fail on its own merits without the dooms day and name-saying from those opposed to the richest nation in the world having basic health care for its population. Oh yeah, I forgot... politics.

Posted by: Jim Gamage | May 28, 2014 00:30

Susan, we actually agree on something.  I like it!  I have so many jobs available and nobody to fill the positions, yet I see countless individuals walking around all day everyday.  Government handouts.  It's easier to not work than it is to get and keep a job.  We are headed for serious trouble in our labor force and it's my generation and younger.  Hang on, it's about to get bumpy.  Work ethic?  Gone!

Posted by: Amanda Parten | May 27, 2014 21:47

Hahahahahaha, Ria! Well said.

Posted by: Ria Biley | May 27, 2014 19:22

Non-profit hospitals have been losing money by the buckets for decades.

I am so sick of the hate mentality revolving around the President. Some people see everything and anything as an opportunity to voice it. 

Oh dear, it's raining again. Damn you, Obama.

Posted by: Susan P Reitman | May 27, 2014 18:33

"Biscone said he also is working to prepare for the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, which will increase in coming years to a total $15.5 million loss for Pen Bay..."  I feel sorry for those people who voted for OBAMA and are in OBAMA CARE because in the months and years to come the CRAP is going to hit the fan and those people are not going to know what hit them.  What is so hard for me to believe is how misguided the people were for voting for OBAMA in the first place and to vote for him a second time is really scary.  I know the people who voted for OBAMA were looking for a SUGAR DADDY but look what this SUGAR DADDY is doing to this country.  The most important thing for a person to have is a job and be a productive member of society and not sitting on their A@@  letting the government take care of them.  Yes, I know that some people need help from the government if they are disabled but even disabled people can work and it gives them a sense of pride.

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