KDMC confirms layoffs

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ASHLAND, Ky. — King’s Daughters Medical Center laid off an undisclosed number of employees Tuesday, citing a still sluggish economy that has resulted in nearly $100 million in unreimbursed care and bad debt.

“The economic recession has hit our region hard and is lasting longer than anyone expected. KDMC has weathered the economic downturn for two years by minimizing capital expenditures, changing benefits, renegotiating contracts and changing flow processes whenever possible to improve efficiency,” hospital officials said in a prepared release. “However, the harsh reality is that patients are delaying their own healthcare and often those who are receiving the needed care cannot pay for it.”

“Unreimbursed care and bad debt are at an all-time high for our organization — approaching the $100 million mark this year, which is a 33 percent increase over just a year ago. This is a $25 million dollar difference in one year. Cost reductions alone cannot compensate for this change in our community and in our country.”

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Rumors swirled Tuesday that CEO Fred Jackson was no longer employed with the company, but those claims were refuted by hospital officials.

“That is absolutely not true,” said Tom Dearing, in KDMC’s marketing and public relations department.

The statement went on to talk about the impact of the employees who were laid off but did not disclose the actual numbers.

“Unfortunately, we had to make the very difficult decision to reduce the number of team members the medical center employs. In healthcare, people are our most important resource, which has made this decision even more difficult. However, it is critical for the future of healthcare in our community.”

“KDMC is working closely with the team members affected by the organizational changes to access available benefits, including other job options that may be available both in the medical center and in the region, and including unemployment benefits. We know this will be traumatic for all our team members and the community as well, but we will support them through this difficult time.”

Officials tried to maintain a positive tone in their release, talking about maintaining high quality care.

“We are here to serve all those who come through our doors and are committed to providing the same high quality, customer focused care to all individuals. This reduction in our workforce was done only as a last resort, but we had to respond to the continuing economic realities of the recession,” the release stated.

“KDMC has experienced many economic ups and downs over the past 111 years. We will manage through this situation so that we can care for our patients and their families for another 100 years at the very highest levels that our community has come to expect.”