Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

Hospitals across Kentucky, and the nation, continue to struggle to fill vacant positions as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.  

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Robert Parker, CEO of Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, about the vaccination status of COVID patients and employees, and the shortage of medical professionals and support staff.    

Parker: The staffing situation here at Lake Cumberland is indeed still a significant challenge. Not only in nursing, but in all of our areas. To discuss nursing first, we currently have 104 open positions for nursing at the moment. This is a phenomenon that’s going to be a challenge through the rest of the year, and into 2022 and perhaps even beyond. You know, we have seen a lot of nurses make career changes. It also is endemic at other areas of the hospital, as well, in different areas, from respiratory therapy to radiology services to food services to dietary, basically all of them. Coming out of the pandemic there are some areas all hospitals are going to have to focus on, not just Lake Cumberland.

Somerset Pulaski County EMS

Governor Andy Beshear announced this week that more than half the  hospitals in Kentucky are reporting critical staff shortages as COVID-19 cases surge. That’s resulted in a lot of patient transfers to wherever beds and staff are available. 

To help ease overburned emergency response teams, Kentucky has recieved three Federal Emergency Management Agency strike teams to assist wth patient transport so local EMS crews have more time to respond to all types of emergency calls.

One of the three FEMA strike teams that arrived in Kentucky a few days ago was deployed to the assist in Pulaski County. Each FEMA team has five ambulances and at total of 10 EMTs and paramedics.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

A Somerset-based hospital is one of many across Kentucky, and nation, struggling with the spike in COVID-19 patients, while trying to recruit more staff. 

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital currently has 26 patients in two COVID-19 units. 

We are aware of a few who were vaccinated who have been admitted. But there’s no question that the overwhelming majority of patients admitted, at least at our hospital, are unvaccinated," said hospital CEO Robert Parker.

He said he wants the communities his hospital serves to understand the severity of the situation faced by his staff. 

“The way I would describe it is, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is operating at the very edge of our capacity, both in terms of staff and bed capacity," said Parker. "However, we’re able to function properly and take care of our patients and we want patients to still come into the facility if they need care. It is important, though, for our community to know that we are operating at that edge of capacity.”

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

Across the Bluegrass State, the number of COVID-19 vaccination sites increases each week, as Kentuckians continue to roll up their sleeves for the shot that promises a return to spending time with family and friends.

A hospital in Somerset has been on the front lines, providing vaccinations to area residents for several months.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is currently giving about 500 first doses of the Moderna vaccine each week, in addition to the allocated second doses.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital

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.