ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- After Our Lady of Bellefonte announced they would be closing their hospital at the end of April, a nearby hospital is speeding up their process to help patients who will be without a care facility.
King's Daughters Medical Center has been working since the OLBH closure news broke in January to make space for people needing jobs and patients needing doctors.
On Saturday, KDMC released a statement about what they have focused on in recent weeks, including hiring physicians who had practices within OLBH.
They have also set up a phone line for patients to call to help with scheduling appointments, transferring medical records, or any other questions they have. That number is (606) 408-CARE (2273).
"Although we have been working at a fast pace since Jan. 21, the decision to close OLBH's inpatient units and emergency department by April 30 has intensified our efforts," said KDMC President and CEO Kristie Whitlatch.
Whitlatch says KDMC is working to open a new nursing unit, outpatient facility, among other projects. She says with the closing date sped up, patients may experience longer wait times. An Urgent Care will open April 1 in Russell along Diederich Blvd.
"I know many people in our communities need jobs," said Whitlatch. "We have already extended job offers to hundreds of people and we will start onboarding them in March, focusing first on clinical personnel. We are likely to hire more people in the next two months than we normally hire in one year."
KDMC officials are also addressing concerns over emergency access to care. They met with Greenup and Carter County leaders to discuss needs for strong and reliable EMS care, including supplying first responders in rural areas with AEDs and other equipment.