Nicholas County Hospital announces closing, to file for bankruptcy

kward1@herald-leader.comMay 12, 2014 

Citing "insurmountable financial challenges," Nicholas County Hospital in Carlisle has announced its closing and plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

The 18-bed hospital stopped providing emergency care Monday, and its three remaining patients were to be transferred to other hospitals Tuesday, hospital spokesman Stephen Scalf said.

The hospital's clinics have until Friday to close, with the exception of a rural health clinic established in 2010 that is expected to continue operating.

The hospital shares its campus with Johnson Mathers Nursing Home, which is not affected by the closing.

Nicholas County Hospital is operated by a private nonprofit organization, JMHC Inc., and has 44 full-time and 40 part-time employees who are being laid off, Scalf said.

He said the hospital had the money to make payroll for the pay period that ended Friday, but there was no guarantee of having money beyond that.

In a news release issued Monday, the hospital's board said it had become the victim of a national transition to "larger, urban-centered hospitals" that had forced many other rural health centers to close.

"It is only through the selfless dedication of our hospital employees that our hospital has been able to remain open this long," the board said in the news release. "Over the past months, the board members have been in almost daily contact exploring every possible option to keep the hospital open; however, when the financial situation reached a point that the hospital could no longer continue operating in accordance with its mission statement without jeopardizing patient safety, the board members had no other choice than filing for bankruptcy."

The property is county-owned, and the fiscal court is looking for opportunities to set up an urgent-treatment or ambulatory care center, according to the news release.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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