A group of local doctors in Versailles, Ky., last week assumed staffing responsibility for Woodford Memorial Hospital, hoping to salvage it. State authorities recently seized the financial records of the troubled 73-bed facility.
When Woodford came up $800,000 short in expected January revenue, the board told all 180 full-time employees that the hospital would probably close Feb. 3.
But Woodford Medical Alliance, a group of three doctors led by Jim Roach, M.D., received permission to staff the hospital so that it would not risk immediate loss of its license, said Tom Samuel, a member of the Woodford County Hospital Taxing District Board.
The medical alliance vowed to keep Woodford's emergency room and X-ray and laboratory departments open.
At the request of the Woodford County Commonwealth attorney's office, Kentucky State Police removed thousands of personnel, financial and board meeting documents from the hospital Feb. 4. The public corruption unit of the state attorney general's office has been asked to determine whether alleged mismanagement of the hospital's ailing finances warrants criminal charges. If so, the case will be turned over to the commonwealth attorney, said Corey Bellamy, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office.
The hospital had expected revenue of $1.2 million in January, but an inability to collect bills, initially blamed on a computer glitch, resulted in the $800,000 shortfall and a consequent failure to make payroll for the last month of operation. The federal Department of Labor is investigating the payroll issue.
At deadline, the hospital was still scraping by with the help of individual doctors who donated a total of $100,000 and one anonymous donor who pledged $50,000. The Woodford County fiscal court and the city of Versailles have approved donations of $135,000 each to help stabilize the hospital's finances, and some employees have been retained and are being paid cash on a weekly basis.
However, the office of the inspector general of Kentucky's Cabinet for Health Services announced last week that it had decided to deny Woodford's relicensing to provide acute and long-term care. The hospital was not providing the full array of required medical services, cabinet officials said, citing Woodford's diversion of some ambulance runs to other hospitals.
The hospital has 30 days to appeal the order. Roach said the hospital plans to appeal, adding that at least two groups may be interested in buying the facility.
The inspector general also announced it had recommended to HCFA that it issue a 23-day termination notice to Woodford. The action would stop Medicare and Medicaid payments to the hospital.