Kentucky River Community Care has announced the layoffs of 40 employees — nearly six percent of its workforce — as a result of a reduction in Medicaid reimbursements, CEO Mary Meade McKenzie said.
The company last week closed two Sapling Center youth service centers. Officials said at the time there was no plan to close any other centers, but the mental health agency has now merged centers in Corbin and Barbourville, which opened earlier this year. McKenzie said the change in reimbursements came just after those two centers opened.
“It didn’t make sense to continue to pay overhead for two centers when they are only 20 miles apart,” she said.
Some of the 40 layoffs come from Sapling Centers, but McKenzie said most do not. The positions are community support associates or CSAs, who provide support to professional staff. Three employees will be laid off in Letcher County, McKenzie said.
She said the centers in Pikeville and Prestonsburg that were closed had lower attendance than the others.
“We just didn’t have enough kids visiting the centers,” McKenzie said.
The Sapling Centers are youth centers that allow young people ages 14-25 to “drop in” whenever they need to. The centers provide food, homework help, college financial aide counseling, mental health therapy, and a place to shower for those who have no way to clean up at home. A Sapling Center is located on Main Street in Whitesburg.
Kentucky River Community Care is a mental health agency with outpatient locations in seven counties. It employed about 700 people before the layoffs, McKenzie said.