|Mayor Scott Madon spoke to the crowd at the Pineville hospital|
while its new name was displayed. (MDN photo by Ray Welch)
The financially troubled hospital in the Bell County seat of Pineville remains open, barely, with a new name and a new operator: the City of Pineville, at least for the time being, while it seeks a new owner.
The hospital is now Pineville Community Healthcare, after two years as Southeastern Kentucky Medical Center. That was the name given it by Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Americore Health, which leased the facility from the Pineville Community Hospital Association, now in bankruptcy. "There are plans to change the name back once the litigation is over," reports Anthony Cloud of the Middlesboro Daily News.
"The local folks will now be making the decisions on this hospital," Pineville Mayor Scott Madon said to cheers on the hospital steps Monday afternoon. Madon "said that he and the community had taken the hospital for granted and they needed to support the hospital," Cloud reports.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which provide about 90 percent of the hospital's reimbursements, cut off payments May 24 after a state inspection found the hospital to be financially unstable and risking patient safety.
Madon said the city will seek reinstatement by CMS, but for now would operate with a skeleton staff. WYMT-TV in Hazard reports that 60 of the 120 employees were laid off, after eight weeks in which they had been paid only with gift cards, and "Only the emergency room is operational."