Pikeville Medical Center announces closing of home health department

Published: Jun. 13, 2019 at 6:33 AM EDT
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Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) is closing its home health department, the hospital announced Wednesday.

"We will be selling our home health services to Sharon Branham," said PMC CEO Donovan Blackburn.

Officials began talking about the decision last year when the hospital readjusted positions to help save money.

"This is in the best interest of the hospital, and it is certainly in the best interest in our number one priority, the patient," Blackburn pointed out.

The cost of home health services combined with the option of other service providers pushed the decision.

"It's difficult to make the necessary investments to be able to grow this service line and to provide the equipment and all the support that our patients are entitled to," explained Blackburn.

The department is made up of more than 30 positions.

PMC said instead of laying off employees, it is giving them three options.

"Option one would be if you want to stay in home health, Sharon has a pathway for you to leave and go work for her," said Blackburn.

Those employees who plan to work for Branham may have the opportunity to keep the same patients they previously worked with.

They can also apply to other job positions with PMC or work elsewhere if they want to.

"I can tell you right now, 95% of those employees have already been placed," the CEO pointed out.

Hospital officials said they came to this decision in order to provide the medical care their patients deserve. A series of letters will be going out to patients served by the department.

"We will be notifying our patients that this transaction will be taking place," said PMC CEO Donovan Blackburn. "So that they'll know that there are other options in the market outside of Pikeville Medical Center and that we have a long-standing relationship with those providers. So again, it's a win-win for the patients, but we want to make certain that they understand what's going on well before this takes place."

Everything will be finalized by July 12th.

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