Only hospital in Nicholas County shutting down

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NICHOLAS COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Nicholas County's only hospital is closing its doors. More than 80 employees will lose their jobs.

We're told any patient currently being treated there is going to be transferred to other facilities Tuesday, because the hospital filed for bankruptcy. A spokesperson says the hospital no longer has the financial ability to continue operations.

Emergency care was stopped Monday, and clinics have until Friday to close.

Officials say the hospital was losing more than $100,000 a month. They blame a drop in patient numbers, plus delayed state and federal reimbursements for the closure, and say the current national trend in healthcare is moving towards larger regional medical centers, forcing smaller, independent hospitals to close.

The hospital spokesperson says it's a major blow to their community.

"It's a trickle down effect that's going to impact the entire community and then there's the more critical life- saving aspect. There's a number of people within the community who are alive today because they were able to receive treatment at the hospital," Stephen Scalf said.

The county owns the property. Judge-Executive Mike Pryor says several healthcare providers are interested in moving into the space. Once the bankruptcy process is completed, the county will be ready to replace the jobs and resources lost.

"It's just another hit to us," said Pryor. "It's going to be something we are going to have to deal with, like we have in the past."

The nursing home will stay open.