Ambulance at Parkway Regional Hospital in October 2011. Ambulance will go elsewhere as of 3/31/2015.
(Fulton, KY. March 31, 2015) - This day is the last day of operations for Parkway Regional Hospital. It will be closed by the end of the day. The hospital first announced its intentions to close in the fall of 2014.
Fulton, Kentucky now becomes part of the national debate over how health care will be provided to Americans and under what circumstances that care is to be given. It has just lost its rural regional hospital. Small clinics will be used in the area to serve and provide limited heath care, but nothing on the scale of a regional hospital.
This hospital closing occurs one day after Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen released a six month investigation into the status and financial well-being of rural hospitals in Kentucky.
The Audit found that "that a third of Kentucky's rural hospitals are in poor financial health, and the total number of health care providers has dropped in recent years."
The Audit also found that the financial conditions of 68 percent of Kentucky's rural hospitals were below the national average.
A week before the actual closing of the Parkway Regional Hospital, the Purchase Area Development District (PADD) headquartered in Mayfield, conducted a Rapid Response action on the hospital. The team was led by Mary Anne Medlock along with support and funding from the KY. Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development.
PADD's Rapid Response Team findings were:
1. 200 employees of the hospital impacted;
2. loss to the City of Fulton's annual budget from decreased payroll tax, property taxes,
and other funds through utilities;
3. by the actual date of closing, 64 employees had not yet found new jobs; and
4. of this group, 86% were women, 39% lived in Tennessee, and 29% had worked
for the hospital less than five years.
Kentucky rural regions are all undergoing transformation in respect to loss of population and jobs. Entire economies of rural regional dynamics are being restructured to react to reduced federal funding and a declining tax base. Equally as powerful change agents for rural Kentucky are questions of costs for providing new medical services to an aging state population who cannot afford more expenses their fixed income. This is not just the case of Fulton, Kentucky. It is the case of a medical community not planning for the great retirement of a new generation of senior citizens.
For the moment, the epicenter of the entire national debate over health services and costs has a new location.
It is called Fulton, Kentucky.