Pineville Council takes step to save hospital

Published 10:30 am Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Pineville City Council took a step forward in an attempt to save the Southeastern Kentucky Medical Center — formerly known as Pineville Community Hospital. With the hospital on the brink of closure, the council held an emergency meeting on Thursday so Mayor Scott Madon could gain approval to gather information about the situation and seek approval from the bankruptcy court.

It was nearly a unanimous decision from the council to grant Madon’s wish. The council would hold another meeting if they decide to proceed forward with acquiring the license after gathering more information.

“Guys, we’ve got a decision to make,” said Madon during the meeting. “We can either step in to try and prop (the hospital) up until we can get somebody to run it, or we can let them close it in the next few days. I personally don’t want to see that. I don’t think any of you all do, but we run a major risk. That’s why I have to have you all (here) today.”

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Madon said Grant White with Americore Health, LLC has agreed to negotiate terms for surrendering the Certificate of Need for the hospital to the city. The mayor did not discuss the terms during the meeting.

According to the mayor, if the hospital closes, White would have to surrender the licenses to the state. The chances of the city being able to get the licenses at that point would be much lower.

Madon was not shy for words in claiming the hospital is in dire straits. The organization is currently behind $400,000 in payroll and are generating approximately $500,000 a month. The mayor estimated that the city would have to borrow $1 million immediately.

Madon also discussed the “dark side” for the city if they acquired the license, which included tax increases.

“If we go out and we borrow this money and this thing goes down, the citizens of Pineville will have to pay that back,” said the mayor. “We will have to raise taxes considerably. That doesn’t mean the county residents. That’s the city residents.”

As far as a long-term plan, Madon said the city isn’t looking to manage the hospital. They would actively look for someone to acquire the operations. Madon said they have been checking with individuals who had previous interest in acquiring the hospital.

“We had one of the finest hospitals, at one time, in the state,” said Madon. “I’ve had a lot of surgeries done down there. I never worried about going into that hospital.”