RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
ASHLAND, Ky. — King’s Daughters Medical Center on Thursday announced layoffs from its Ashland, Ky., facility. KDMC Marketing and Public Relations Director Tom Dearing said the cuts would not extend to the hospital’s facilities in Portsmouth.
Dearing issued a statement on behalf of the medical center Thursday afternoon, calling this a “difficult but necessary decision to reduce our workforce in response to declining patient volumes, shrinking payments from both Medicare (the federal government) and Medicaid (state governments), as well as other economic factors.”
He said the reduction will affect many areas of the medical center, but patient care areas will remain staffed appropriately.
“This reduction was taken as a last resort in order to balance our workforce with the new economic realities of health care in our region. Each affected team member left the organization with access to available benefits, including job placement services and assistance with the unemployment claim process,” Dearing said.
He said several factors contributed to this decision, but among the largest was the federal government’s approach to health care reform and Medicaid changes in Kentucky.
“Kentucky outsourced the management of the Medicaid program to private companies, complicating access to care and reducing payments to providers. We expect these challenges created by federal and state health care reform to continue well into the future,” Dearing said.
Another major factor cited in this decision, Dearing said, is that many people are delaying health care treatment in the face of uncertain economic times.
“With higher out-of-pocket expenses, higher gas prices and the increasing cost of other necessities, consumers are forced to self-ration health care. KDMC understands the importance of preventive care and we encourage every individual to pursue appropriate medical treatment and follow established screening guidelines. Delaying medical care can have adverse effects on a patient’s health,” Dearing said.
Dearing would not release how many employees would be affected by this decision but said they were in all departments of the hospitals; even including physicians, administrators, and office support staff. Despite these layoffs, he said, KDMC will continue to serve its communities with convenient access to high-quality care.
“To that end, we have several projects underway throughout the region — Portsmouth and Jackson, Ohio; and multiple sites in eastern Kentucky—and they will continue as planned,” Dearing said.
He said the medical center was preparing transition services, such as resume writing, unemployment benefits and transition pay for dislocated employees.
Calls placed to one local union were not returned Thursday afternoon.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.