Baptist Health lays off 288, loses its CEO amid losses

Steve Hanson

Kentucky’s biggest hospital operator, Baptist Health, is going through a shakeup.

The not-for-profit firm said last week that it would lay off 288 employees, most of them at its Louisville headquarters, and it announced Tuesday that its CEO for the last four years, Steve Hanson, is leaving “immediately.”

Baptist Health has been losing money for more than a year.

Baptist wouldn’t comment further, “but the organization has reported operating losses for the last five quarters, including a $28.3 million loss for the three-month period ended November 30,” notes Chris Otts of WDRB.com. “It lost $41 million in its most recent fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016.”

“We appreciate Steve Hanson’s contributions to Baptist Health over the past four years,” Allen Rudd, the chairman of the nonprofit’s board of directors, said in a press release. He declined to be interviewed.

The release said Baptist will be led for the time being by Vice President and Chief Legal and Regulatory Affairs Officer Janet Norton and Chief Financial Officer Steve Oglesby, who have been with the firm for more than 20 years.

Baptist has eight hospitals in Kentucky (in Louisville, Lexington, Corbin, LaGrange, Madisonville, Paducah, Richmond and Elizabethtown) and recently bought Floyd Memorial Hospital in New Albany, Ind., next to Louisville. It said last week that the layoffs were not related to that $301 million purchase.

“More than three million people live in Baptist’s service area, and more than 300,000 people visited Baptist Health emergency rooms in fiscal 2015,” Boris Ladwig reports for Insider Louisville. “In Kentucky, the organization ranks first in the number of admissions, cancer patients, outpatient visits and births, and second in ER visits and open heart surgeries. One out of every four babies in Kentucky is delivered at a Baptist Health facility.”

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