Statewide Rallies in Support of Maine Hospitals 

Statewide rallies were held Thursday to show support for five hospitals in Maine.Eastern Maine Medical Center was one of the locations.Meghan Hayward reports.Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Paul LePage organized the rallies in support of the Maine hospitals.The rallies are being coordinated by local legislative candidates and citizens who are concerned about the financial burdens Maine hospitals are facing because of unpaid MaineCare reimbursements totaling nearly 4-hundred million dollars.”This money has been owed since 2007. And it’s piling up as your hear. At 2 million dollars a week they’ll be lucky to get 2007’s money next year. 2010 money won’t come to them for 3 or 4 more years.”State Senator, Debra Plowman says it’s no way to do business.”We have not made this a priority in our budget. But we have a mandate from the legislature saying you will treat MaineCare patients. We will decide how many people. They deliberately low ball how many people they think the hospital will see and they underpay every week.”Eastern Maine Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Mer Doucette says the state owes them 60-million dollars for services dating back three years.”That grows at the rate of about 20 million dollars a year. So we expect the same similar shortfall next year.”Doucette says it makes a big difference.”It affects our ability to make necessary investments in our facilities, our outdated facilities. And our ability to replace equipment that’s needed at the hospital.”Those at the rally say they hope to raise awareness about this problem. And let Mainers know they should be concerned.”It is everyone who has to use a hospital service at some point that faces the risk of a reduction in service because the money is not there.”The Democratic Party released a statement Thursday saying they have demonstrated a strong desire to work together with Republicans on this issue.They say both Democrats and Republicans passed a bill in the last legislative session which gave money to the hospitals in exchange for their commitment to not lay off workers.