Downeast Health Services, $100,000 in the Red, Imposes Layoffs, Cutbacks

ELLSWORTH — The executive director of Downeast Health Services has laid off herself and 11 other employees for the rest of the month in an effort to address a daunting financial crisis.

Kathie Norwood said Tuesday that client needs, particularly the need for dental services, have tapped out her agency’s financial resources.

“For the first time in 40 years,” Norwood said, “Downeast Health is faced with an immediate need for community support in order to continue support for families with the greatest needs.”

In order to make it through to June 30, the end of the fiscal year, Downeast Health will run at reduced staffing. Employees who deal directly with clients will continue to work, though their hours have been reduced. All others, including administrators, have been laid off for two weeks.

With 44 employees and a biweekly payroll of $55,000, the cutbacks will save $30,000. Norwood said she anticipates a $20,000 gift in the near future. The $50,000 realized from the gift and the cutbacks will reduce by half the $100,000 budget deficit with which the agency is now struggling.

Norwood said the agency’s dental clinic, with an annual budget of $700,000, is the lead factor in the present crisis.

“The dental clinic is not self-sustaining,” she said, but the work done in terms of patient care and outreach is critical.

“We made a commitment to do this,” Norwood said. “We see kids who don’t know what a toothbrush is.”

For more health news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]
Stephen Fay

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