Skip to main content

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

March 03, 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

# # #

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
MaineHealth taps Boston Children’s physician with strong information technology background to lead its IT department
Daniel J. Nigrin, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist who was drawn to the important role that technology plays in delivering world-class health care.
MMCRI Joins National COVID Data Research Collaborative
The National COVID Cohort Collaborative gives scientists access to de-identified data from COVID patients around the country, speeding up the research process.
MaineHealth Earns 2020 CHIME Digital Health Most Wired Recognition
The CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively healthcare organizations apply core and advanced technologies into their clinical and business programs to improve health and care in their communities.
Appendicitis Trial Shows the Risks and Benefits of Treating Appendicitis with Antibiotics Instead of Surgery
MMC Surgeons Damien Carter, MD, and Bruce Chung, MD, are among the authors of the largest randomized clinical trial of appendicitis ever conducted.
Physicians Join Maine Medical Partners
Maine Medical Partners announces the following new hires.
Shaw Brothers Construction Pledges $1 Million to Maine Medical Center to Honor Sally Shaw
In recognition of a $1 million commitment by Jon and Dan Shaw, founders of Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham, Maine Medical Center will name the causeway of the new Congress Street Tower in honor of the Shaws’ mother, Sally Shaw.
MMC Participates in NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Studying Buprenorphine Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder
Maine Medical Center’s emergency department is one of 30 chosen across the country as part of the National Institutes of Health "Helping to End Addiction" Long-term Initiative (HEAL).
U.S. News & World Report Names MMC ‘Best Regional Hospital’ For Eighth Straight Year
MMC earns a “high performing” rating in the specialty of Urology as well as in ten common procedures and conditions.
Credit rating agencies reaffirm strength of MaineHealth
Two credit rating agencies continued to give northern New England’s largest health system high marks for its financial strength even though the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact.
MMCRI awarded $1.9M by the National Institutes of Health
The five-year award by the National Cancer Institute supports the study of how healthy fat cells support growth of blood cancer cells.