Pikeville Medical Center, Eastern Kentucky’s largest hospital, is cutting its workforce to correct what CEO Donovan Blackburn called “poor business decisions” by his predecessor, Walter May.
“The news comes a week after the credit rating agency Moody’s lowered the hospital’s credit rating two notches, citing increased labor costs and limited cash flow,” notes Will Wright of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
May, who led the hospital’s growth over the past 20 years, was fired in January. Since then, the hospital has cut 250 employees by attrition, but now is laying off 100, Blackburn said. Another 30 recently “left through a normal exit including quitting or being fired,” WKYT-TV of Hazard reports.
Blackburn said the hospital hired 600 people for a clinic it built in 2015, pushing its workforce above 3,000, but didn’t need 480 of them. “In 2016 we had the best year we ever had at the end of the 2016 year, but in 2017 we had the worst year we ever had,” he told the station. The clinic was named for May’s wife, hospital attorney Pamela May, who died in May 2017. That was the same month that the hospital hired Blackburn, who had been Pikeville’s city manager.