ASHLAND, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2013) — King’s Daughters Medical Center is laying off another 4 percent of its payroll and closing satellite centers in Pikeville and Russell, citing lower numbers of patients and reduced federal and state reimbursements.
“It is the most recent in a series of layoffs for the medical center, which saw layoffs and shift reductions for more than 100 employees in 2010 and an undisclosed number of layoffs in 2012,” reports Beth Hendricks of The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W.Va. “Most affected positions are in support, administration and supervisory areas, according to KDMC spokesman Tom Dearing. Staffing levels for direct patient care remain unchanged. Physicians at the closing family-care offices will be relocated to other centers.”
Mike James of The Independent in Ashland reports, “Some workers had their hours cut from full time to part time, Dearing said. . . . CEO Fred Jackson … said the cuts were part of a national slump in the health care business. . . . Jackson’s email blamed ‘a perfect storm of a shifting business model, changing federal and state reimbursements, increasing demand for charity care, and a weak economy’ and said the hospital would look to outpatient services and its community outreach centers for future growth.”
Jackson has been under fire from the Service Employees International Union for his total compensation of $1.37 million in 2010, the figure reported on the not-for-profit hospital’s most recent IRS Form 990. “By comparison, a CEO at a Huntington-based hospital earned $725,744,” Hendricks reports. “Five additional KDMC senior management officials saw a combined $300,000 in increased wages over the same period.”
Hendricks writes, “Ashland City Commissioner Kevin Gunderson said the layoffs Thursday, coupled by layoffs in recent years, raises questions about whether the board and management at King’s Daughters have overspent on various outreach clinics, some of which are closing. ‘They should have focused on their core medical center instead of building outreach centers in Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Flatwoods, Cannonsburg, Russell and South Shore and Jackson, Ironton, Burlington and a large one in Portsmouth,’ Gunderson said. ‘I just drove by there today, and they had people out planting shrubbery.’ . . . This week’s layoffs are the latest in a string of woes for the hospital, which lost its contract with Medicaid managed-care organization CoventryCares in late 2012. King’s Daughters is also under a Department of Justice investigation into its cardiac program.”
Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.