Maine low-income dental clinic lays off nearly half of staff: 7 things to know

Penobscot Community Dental Care in Bangor, Maine, laid off nearly half of its staff as part of restructuring efforts in the face of nationwide workforce shortages, Bangor Daily News reported Nov. 23.

Seven things to know:

  1. The clinic is the only practice in the Bangor area that accepts MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program.
  2. The practice laid off 31 employees, including dentists, dental assistants, hygienists and technicians.
  3. Kate Carlisle, a spokesperson for the clinic, told the publication the practice is restructuring its staff to "reimagine provider roles" in response to changes in demographics and dental care in the state, including an increase in MaineCare patients after the state expanded coverage to include low-income adults during the summer.
  4. Ms. Carlisle told the publication that recruiting dentists and dental assistants is difficult in Maine and is expected to get more difficult.
  5. Fifteen percent of the state's job losses between March 2020 and October 2021 were in the healthcare sector, according to the state's labor department.
  6. The laid-off employees were invited to reapply for Penobscot's new roles to avoid the practice having to ask its existing staff to retrain and take on new duties, Ms. Carlisle told the publication.
  7. The clinic paused its general dentistry service for four weeks as part of the restructuring but continued its walk-in, hygiene and orthodontic services. It will also end its dental residency program in June.

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