Last month it was reported that the owners of Pioneer Community Hospital in Scott County filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move that brought in to question the long -term stability of the facility.
New information out of Scott County in the past two weeks further sheds doubt that the hospital will remain in operation much longer.
Two weeks ago the Scott County Independent Herald reported that Pioneer Health Services filed paperwork with the state indicating the possibility of closing the facility.
At the time PHS Scott County CEO Tony Taylor stated he believed the filing was just a legal obligation of the potential, but admitted it could mean the ownership group could shut down the facility by the end of June.
This week Pioneer Health Services announced the closing of the Pioneer Family Care Clinic, operated separately by the hospital and located in a nearby plaza.
Last week at the McCreary County Fiscal Court meeting, McCreary Chamber of Commerce President Dianna Bybee informed the Court that several employees of the hospital had been given notice that the facility was indeed to close.
Should Pioneer make the decision to close the hospital, it is uncertain when that closure would occur. Federal employment guidelines would likely mean that it would not occur as soon as June 26. Because the hospital employs more than 100, it falls under requirements of the WARN Act, which require employees to be given a 60-day notification of a mass layoff or be provided severance pay.
If the hospital closed, ownership of the real estate would revert to Scott County. The county is currently in the midst of a 10-year contract with Pioneer that requires the facility — ownership of which was transferred to Pioneer in 2012 at no cost — to be operated as a hospital or be returned to the county.
However, that, too, could be complicated. First National Bank currently has a lien on the property after Pioneer borrowed $400,000 for improvements in 2015. The Internal Revenue Service has also filed a separate $500,000 tax lien on the property due to back taxes owed by the corporation.
The Independent Herald reports there has been interest from other groups in possibly purchasing the hospital.