Bangor lower-money dental clinic lays off practically half its employees


The only greater Bangor dental clinic accepting MaineCare has laid off approximately 50 percent its workers as portion of a restructuring work in the middle of a countrywide labor scarcity.

Penobscot Group Dental Care laid off 31 employees two months ago though undergoing a reorganization in response to “changing demographics and other adjustments in Maine and in dental treatment,” spokesperson Kate Carlisle said Monday. Laid-off workforce incorporated dentists, dental assistants, hygienists and professionals.

The restructuring was accomplished to “reimagine provider roles” and make it possible for the clinic to “look ahead to staffing and work flows” making it possible for the clinic to continue on delivering basic solutions and fulfill demand from customers for adult dental services after Maine passed a law this summer months expanding MaineCare to deal with dental treatment for minimal-income older people, Carlisle claimed.

It makes the clinic the only a single of its form in Maine to announce important layoffs for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The timing shocked some, with an sector group official indicating she did not know why the clinic would be laying critical employees off now.

Laid-off staff were being getting welcomed back again to utilize for newly outlined roles. The dental clinic, which serves patients as section of Penobscot Community Wellbeing Treatment, detailed 20 providers on its web-site on Monday. Sixty-five people worked at the clinic prior to the layoffs, Carlisle stated.

In addition to the layoffs, the general dentistry assistance was paused for 4 weeks to comprehensive the restructuring energy, but walk-in, cleanliness and orthodontic appointments ended up still staying honored, Carlisle stated. The clinic will also stop a longstanding dental residency program in June, she stated.

Penobscot Local community Dental Clinic is a person of four very low-cost dental treatment suppliers in Penobscot County. It is the only in Bangor that accepts MaineCare, the state’s edition of Medicaid, the federal wellness care software for lower-earnings men and women, in accordance to a People for Very affordable Health and fitness Care fact sheet.

Well being care has been hit tough by the pandemic employee shortage, with 15 percent of Maine’s work losses amongst March 2020 and Oct 2021 attributed to the sector, according to Maine Department of Labor info.

Kathy Ridley, the interim government director of the Maine Dental Association, mentioned she did not understand why the clinic would lay off dentists, assistants and hygienists now, nor did she know what the restructuring entailed.

“I know that they are restructuring and I just don’t know why,” Ridley claimed. “I really do not have the expertise to report on that.”

Carlisle had no reaction to Ridley’s comment but mentioned “recruiting for dentists and dental assistants continues to be tough in rural states like Maine and is projected to get more durable,” and that laying off the 31 workforce would stay clear of obtaining to ask them to retrain or adapt to new obligations or a new perform fashion and would stay clear of “negative results.”

PCHC also employs Maine’s first dental therapist, a new class of dental specialist created by the Legislature seven a long time ago in element to relieve recruiting difficulties. The clinic hopes to seek the services of additional therapists and the current alterations will assistance the clinic “better embrace that design of care,” Carlisle reported.

Correction: An before variation of this story had an incorrect reference to the number of laid-off personnel. It is 31.

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