Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

November 14, 2013

Little Sandy board details financial woes before vocal crowd

Nov. 14, 2013 — The Little Sandy Health Department’s Board of Directors held its monthly meeting Wednesday night before a standing room only crowd at the Carter County courthouse.

 

An outpouring of citizens and elected officials, most from Olive Hill, turned out to voice their opposition of a recent decision by the County Board of Health to close the Olive Hill satellite clinic.

 

Board chairperson Dr. Kari Shields outlined a financial decline in the health department that she says dates back more than two years.

 

She elaborated that staff cutbacks, voluntary furloughs, and a recent tax increase were all implemented in an effort to turn things around, but recent revelations about the department’s budget paint a more dire picture than originally thought.

 

We have very recently become aware of some changes in the budget that we didn’t have knowledge of beforehand,” said Shields.

 

The budget was misrepresented,” she added when pressed for more information.

 

Board members declined to specify in what way the budget figures had been misrepresented or who was responsible for the alleged fabrication.

 

A projected $400,000 budget shortfall is the primary reason behind the county board’s decision to close the Olive Hill satellite clinic.

 

Both Shields and clinic staff indicated that the financial situation is so desperate that, by the end of the year, the health department is in danger of not being able to meet its payroll obligations.

 

The board referenced data suggesting the Olive Hill facility wasn’t being utilized enough to justify keeping it open. Some in attendance suggested that data may not be accurate.

 

The numbers were down because we didn’t have providers in the clinic those days,” said Gloria Rayburn, a staff member at the Olive Hill clinic.

 

It looks to me that, by design, you are trying to close the facility that actually has the greatest need,” added Richard Short.

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