Jennie Stuart Health has announced the layoff of 248 employees due to declines in overall patient volume and revenue during the ongoing pandemic.
Governor Andy Beshear on March 14 requested hospitals and other medical facilities to cease elective procedures as part of a broad mitigation strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 throughout Kentucky.
Jennie Stuart Health CEO Eric Lee notes in a news release that the action caused a sharp decline in patient volume, saying, “Even as we work to preserve our critical human resources – our skilled clinicians and physicians who work with us to effectively manage our COVID-19 patient surges – we continue to see significant declines in other service lines, including our primary care clinics, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, geriatric behavioral health, outpatient medical imaging, wound healing, pulmonary and cardiac rehab.”
In a broader sense Lee says, “Even our convenient care, express lab and emergency services have experienced dramatic declines as the pandemic is having unprecedented effects on how people view health care services and how they are approaching their access to them. As we enter the second month of reduced operations, we must mitigate these conditions as much as possible and secure the key clinical personnel on the front lines of this battle.”
Jennie Stuart Health hopes to recall the 248 impacted employees in the future, although the timeframe for restoration of positions will be based on the long-term recovery of Jennie Stuart Health from its current financial and business challenges.
Lee adds, “This is an incredibly difficult time for our health system, and this is not a decision we made lightly. I regret the immediate personal impact on these employees and their families. However, we must reflect in our staffing how the current reality has changed the resources needed to care for the dramatic shift in our volumes of non-COVID-19 patients.”
He says the layoffs do not impede Jennie Stuart’s ability to care for the people of the region and says their focus will remain on patient care.