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Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset has been forced to place 17 percent of its staff on temporary leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH) is among the latest medical facilities to announce a temporary workforce reduction due to having to restrict services in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"Like all hospitals, in addition to fighting COVID-19 on the front lines of patient care, we have to manage the business impact we are experiencing due to significant decreases in volume and the utilization of services," LCRH CEO Robert Parker stated. "Declines in utilization are a result of people staying home and practicing smart social distancing, and also because of our decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent procedures, when clinically feasible, in an effort to preserve critical resources needed to care for patients during this global pandemic."

Parker continued that the hospital made the difficult decision to place 17 percent of its staff on temporary leave. During their time on leave, workers will continue to receive 25 percent of their salaries or wages as well as remaining enrolled in benefits. The partial pay is not expected to interfere with an employee's eligibility for state unemployment benefits and federal benefits through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In addition to placing some on temporary leave, LCRH has also been adjusting staff hours "to align to the volume and acuity of patients we are seeing – a practice that is commonly used among hospitals, and is being leveraged to a greater extent right now," Parker added.

"These are very hard decisions to make, and we are incredibly sensitive to the impact they have on our employees," Parker said. "However, these are necessary measures to ensure we are maximizing our resources and supporting our teams on the front lines of battling COVID-19."

The hospital is hopeful that employees can return to their positions and/or full schedules within 60 days. Until then, parent corporation LifePoint Health is offering support through its CORE (Connecting Our Resources to Employees) Crisis Initiative.

Along with partial pay for employees on temporary leave, CORE's resources include COVID-19 sick pay, child and elder care stipends, and unlimited EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services. It also includes access to our LifeCare Disaster Recovery Fund, which provides emergency support to employees facing serious financial hardship. More information can be found at http://lifepointhealth.net/covid-19-response/supporting-our-employees.

"Investments in these resources have been funded, in part, by temporary salary reductions across LifePoint’s Health Support Center employees and hospital leadership teams, including ours," Parker said. "…We thank our staff members across departments for their work in keeping one another and our patients safe during this unprecedented time, and we thank our community for their ongoing support of our heroic staff."

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