Carlisle hospital closes, making Nicholas County the 40th Kentucky county without a hospital

Fully one-third of Kentucky’s counties will not have a hospital, following the closure of Nicholas County Hospital in Carlisle. That will make Nicholas the 40th county without a hospital, according to the Kentucky Hospital Association.

The hospital board said it searched “every possible option to keep the hospital open,” but it has filed for bankruptcy and will close later this week, reports WLEX-TV. Officials reported that the 14-bed hospital was losing more than $100,000 per month, which they say resulted from a decrease in the number of patients and slow state and federal reimbursements, Sam Smith reports for WKYT-TV.

“It’s a trickle-down effect that’s going to impact the entire community and then there’s the more critical life-saving aspect. There’s a number of people within the community who are alive today because they were able to receive treatment at the hospital,” hospital spokesman Stephen Scalf told WKYT.

Scalf said the hospital’s clinics will close by Friday except for one rural health clinic that will likely remain open. Johnson Mathers Nursing Home, which operates on the same campus as the hospital, will not close. “Nicholas County Hospital is operated by a private nonprofit organization, JMHC Inc., and has 44 full-time and 40 part-time employees who are being laid off,” Karla Ward reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The hospital’s board said in a news release that it has been negatively affected by a national transition to “larger, urban-centered hospitals’ that had forced many other rural health centers to close.”

The fiscal court will be looking for options to create an “urgent treatment or ambulatory care facility that will provide for the community’s medical needs in the future,” WLEX reports. The county owns the hospital’s property, and Judge-Executive Mike Pryor said other healthcare provers are considering taking over the space, Smith reports. “It’s just another hit to us,” said Pryor. “It’s going to be something we are going to have to deal with, like we have in the past.”

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