The Frontier Nursing Service board of governors decided Wednesday to enter into negotiations with a buyer for Hyden's Mary Breckinridge Hospital, its home health agency and several rural clinics.
The non-profit organization can't say with whom it's negotiating because of a confidentiality agreement, said Jeff Buckley, vice president of Louisville's Alliant Management, a company that was brought in to run the hospital in July.
If the sale negotiations fall through "there is a backup suitor" that will be considered, he said. The process could be a long one, Buckley said. "It's not exactly like buying a hardware store."
Between 60 and 70 people have been laid off at the hospital recently, leaving around 170 employees. Hyden's population is 350.
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There have also been wage reductions and other cost cutting, Buckley said.
Mary Breckinridge Hospital's problems are not unlike those of health-care organizations across the country during a recession, Buckley said.
"Frontier Nursing Service decided that they wanted to devote their time, energy and resources to the nursing and midwifery school," also in Leslie County; the nursing and midwifery school will not be sold, Buckley said.