Health
2:02 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Lack of State and Local Funding Leads to Cuts at One of Kentucky's Largest Hospitals

The financially struggling University Hospital in Louisville is cutting services that will save the facility about $2.5 million a year. The Courier-Journal reports that the hospital will close its sleep center in November, halt open-heart surgeries and limit non-emergency outpatient services for people who don't have insurance.

Hospital officials have warned that the cuts were coming because it doesn't get enough funding for indigent care from the city and state.

Ken Marshall, chief operating officer at University Hospital, says he expects more cuts in the future.

"We probably have to bring $15 million out of the system within the next couple of years," Marshall said on Wednesday. "It's a start."

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, said the mayor is "always concerned if there are reductions in services to the indigent in this community. But it appears these services are not critical."

Marshall said eight employees would be affected by the closing of the sleep center, which performed 529 studies in 2011.

"If we can find a position within the organization, we will place them within the organization," Marshall said. "The sleep center (cut) was extremely difficult to make because you're dealing with people."

Halting open-heart surgeries won't have a big effect since so few are performed there — 16 since the beginning of the year.

He said reducing the number of nonemergency outpatient services will mean fewer slots for the uninsured.