Westlake Regional Hospital in Kentucky Files for Bankruptcy

Westlake Regional Hospital in Columbia, Ky., has filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the first hospital in Kentucky ever to do so, according to a WDRB report.

The 74-bed, county-owned Westlake Regional is $20 million in debt, according to the report. It is also one of 18 hospitals that will pay the maximum 2 percent penalty this year for higher-than-expected Medicare readmission rates. Acting CEO Neal Gold has made some changes, such an unspecified number of layoffs, but ultimately decided to declare for Chapter 9 reorganization.

Hospital officials did not say if the hospital would close or if it would look for a partner. Westlake Regional had explored a merger or sale in December 2011, to no avail.

Despite the hospital's financial difficulties, it has routinely scored highly in CMS' HCAHPS survey. This past year, Westlake Regional had the best physician communication of any other hospital, and it was also considered the cleanest hospital in the country.

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