Business

Lexington hospital closing gym: 'We are having to make some tough decisions'

Although the Baptist HealthwoRx web site looked the same until Monday afternoon, the gym is closing on July 13. About 2,000 members were notified last week. And about 11 employees will be laid off.
Although the Baptist HealthwoRx web site looked the same until Monday afternoon, the gym is closing on July 13. About 2,000 members were notified last week. And about 11 employees will be laid off.

A gym operated by Baptist Health is closing in July.

About 2,000 members were notified last week that their memberships will end on July 13.

Baptist Health spokeswoman Ruth Ann Childers said that about nine part-time and two full-time employees at Baptist HealthwoRx Fitness and Wellness Center will be laid off.

"They are valued members of the Baptist Health Lexington family and well-known in the community and each would make a great addition to any organization," Childers said.

Childers said the decision was a difficult one.

"In this time of shrinking healthcare reimbursements, we are having to make some tough decisions," she said. The gym, which Baptist Health has operated since 2004, is "outside our core business focus, which is to provide access to patient health-care services."

She said that members, who include employees, seniors and others, will have prorated fees refunded after July 13 and that the YMCA, Lexington Athletic Club and Planet Fitness have offered special membership deals.

Silver Sneakers members, whose fees are paid through their insurance, can transfer to other Silver Sneakers programs at the Y and at other gyms, she said.

"We definitely encourage members to check with HealthwoRx about where to receive services," Childers said. "There are many more fitness options than in 2004. ... We are focusing on access; it’s an issue. Access to primary and specialty care, because we serve such a large patient base in Central and Eastern Kentucky."

Childers said that the space at Lexington Green will be available for lease but until another tenant takes it or the lease is up in October 2019 Baptist Health will operate existing classes such as grandparenting classes and a diabetes program in the building.

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