Kern Medical Center plans department closures, layoffs

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The financially troubled Kern Medical Center could shutter two departments, with layoffs looming.

Hospital administration said Monday that they recommend the closure of home health and outpatient physical therapy. The decisions on department closures at the county-owned hospital are left to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

KMC has reported losses in the millions on a monthly basis.

The department closures would help slow the financial bleeding, because overhead and operating costs are higher than freestanding competitors, KMC officials said.

"These are difficult decisions to make. The financial performance at KMC is impacting the lives of our staff and the lives of our patients. However, we have to focus on continuing the overall mission and viability of the hospital," KMC CEO Russell Judd said in a news release. "It's important that we continue to care for our patients receiving their care through these services until they close, and we are making arrangements with other providers to care for any patients that may still be receiving treatment when these departments close."

The hospital leadership will recommend the closures at the Board of Supervisors June 17 meeting.

KMC will also publish on June 12, as part of the Board of Supervisors' agenda for its June 17 meeting, the recommendation for layoffs. Hospital officials said now layoff information will be released before June 12.