Kentucky Spirit

Health departments across Kentucky continue to make cuts because of a dispute between the state and a managed-care company hired to help serve Medicaid patients.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the cuts include laying off workers, ending school health programs and decreasing clinic hours.

Kentucky Health Departments Association President Scott Lockard told the newspaper that health departments cut 53 workers last year, and another 95 have been cut this year. He said some departments are facing furloughs through July 1.

The Madison County Health Department, for example, announced the end of its school nurse program in February. Fayette County's health department ended that program last year.

Struggling Medicaid operator Kentucky Spirit has followed through and is suing to end its contract with the state. Kentucky Spirit announced last week it was leaving the commonwealth, because it could not operate without massive losses.  Now, it is suing in Frankfort courts to make it official.

Governor Steve Beshear says he’s disappointed that one statewide Medicaid operator has announced it is leaving the state. Kentucky Spirit, part of Centene Corporation from Missouri, announced Wednesday that they would terminate their operations next July, before their contract is up.