The Pikeville Medical center is making cutbacks. Officials say high gas prices and the sluggish economy are causing the hospital to tighten its belt, but officials say their cuts will *not* affect patient care.
Keith Bridges with the Pikeville Medical Center says they are cutting back hundreds of thousands of dollars on catering and not filling a number of positions. Some senior managers are also taking an eight percent pay cut, but Bridges says none of the changes will impact patient care.
In a published letter from President and CEO Walter May, he says the financial outlook of the hospital is questionable. Keith Bridges say their facility is cutting back, just like everyone else in the community.
Keith Bridges says, "Gas prices go up, people have to decide, 'Where am I going to drive? What am I going to spend my fuel money on?' It surprises me that health care would be one of the areas they would cut back on."
So that people don't have to choose between gas in their car and a trip to the doctor, Pikeville Medical Center is offering free health screenings across the area.
We're taking medicine to the folks so that if they have to make a decision that well i've got to buy groceries, and I'm going there, that's where we set up. We went to five Food Cities from Whitesburg to Prestonsburg and for three days offered these free health screenings," says Bridges.
Joshua Ball, managing editor of the Medical Leader says, "It was neat to see these people be able to have this opportunity, to pat them on the back and let them know that we care for them and we obviously know what kind of situation they are in."
One cutback some PMC officials are happy about is taking the hospital's newsletter to the internet. Officials have stopped county-wide mailbox distribution of The Medical Leader and are offering the entire magazine free online.
"I don't see it as a cut back, but at the end of the day it is. But I just think we're chartering a new way of doing the newspaper", says Ball.
Bridges says hospital officials are looking for more ways to help people in eastern Kentucky get access to health care.
Keith Bridges says some doctors have seen more cancellations than ever, and he says PMC is looking for more ways to help out.