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Lake Cumberland Hospital Among Many Facing Financial Challenges Due to COVID-19

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Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital
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Hospitals across Kentucky are experiencing a dramatic decline in revenues as elective procedures are cancelled in order to focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is one of the health care organizations temporarily trimming its staff to deal with the financial challenge.

The hospital in Somerset is putting 17 percent of its staff on temporary leave, with 25 percent salary and continuing benefits for those employees.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital said that receiving partial pay will not impact the employees’ eligibility to apply for state unemployment benefits, or federal benefits from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The hospital said it hopes to return those employees to their full-time positions within 60 days.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is among many in the state facing troubling choices due to the impact of COVID-19.The Kentucky Hospital Association’s Vice President for Financial Policy, Carl Herde, said stopping elective surgeries will likely have a devastating effect. 

“In working with our hospitals, we ran a calculation of the expected impact. Collectively our hospitals in Kentucky are expected to lose $1.3 billion over this eight-week period,” said Herde.

While hospitals in the state have received an estimated total of $230 million in emergency funds, that’s a fraction of the anticipated losses, according to Herde.

“Since there is no clear path to recoup these losses, the hospitals are left with no choice but to look at their own operations to cut as much cost as they possibly can," said Herde. "And this is very difficult, when you think at the same time, they are preparing themselves for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.”

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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