Maine Medical Center Experiencing High Levels of Inpatient, Emergency Department Demand

March 02, 2017

Contact: MMC Marketing & Communications
(207) 741-8221 /

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Medical Center is at near-record levels of demand for inpatient and Emergency Department services. Earlier today MMC was diverting non-emergency ambulances from its Emergency Department and it is reminding people with non-emergency medical needs to consider seeking care at its urgent care facility, Brighton FirstCare.

“Our care teams provide excellent, patient-centered care every day. We are generally seeing higher numbers of patients seeking care, and those patients often have greater medical needs,” said Joel Botler, M.D., chief medical officer at MMC. “Our patients come to MMC for the high-quality, specialized care they need, and that continuously creates a high level of demand. When demand spikes – as it is currently – it causes these sorts of capacity issues.”

MMC expects this situation to subside, but the limited number of beds is a chronic challenge that will continue until it is addressed. As of Thursday afternoon MMC is no longer diverting nonemergency ambulances.

MMC’s capacity challenge has several contributing factors. On average, our patients have greater medical needs, require longer stays and higher levels of care. Many of our beds are placed two in a room, which sometimes require bed closures when a patient is too sick to have a roommate. And many of our beds are in buildings that are 40 years old and aren’t flexible enough to handle additional equipment needs, care demands, etc.

All of these factors add up and leave MMC with a very limited number of extra beds each day. So when demand spikes, the medical center literally runs out of beds. This, in turn, backs up MMC’s Emergency Department.

MMC’s proposed facility modernization and expansion project, announced last September, was developed in order to meet the needs of our population and address that challenge. Our proposed facility plan will:

  • Increase the number of single bed rooms without asking for more bed licenses.
  • Give us more flexibility to respond to high demand times like today.
  • Provide a range of other benefits to make us more effective, more efficient and provide a better experience for patients.

Visit for more information on MMC’s Master Facility Plan.

About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as the number-one ranked hospital in Maine by U.S. News and World Report for 2016-2017, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 6,500 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit

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