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Signature HealthCARE to eliminate 100 positions due to COVID-19 expenses, lack of funding and support, owner says

Signature HealthCARE says the jobs will be cut from support staff and leadership positions from its Home Office in Louisville. They operate in 10 US states.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Signature HealthCARE announced Wednesday they're eliminating 100 positions. The company said in a news release, the cuts are mainly due to COVID-19 expenses and lack of funding and support in Kentucky.

According to its website, Signature HealthCARE is a family-based healthcare company that offers integrated services in 10 states across the continuum of care: skilled nursing, rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care, home health, cognitive care, and telemedicine.

The company owner, operators said in a statement that Signature’s remarkable work in response to COVID-19 has been recognized by many local, state and federal government leaders, there has been a lack of much needed funding to support the crucial resources and program changes associated with COVID-19. As a result, Signature HealthCARE must now eliminate over 100 support staff and leadership positions from its Home Office in Louisville, Ky. This includes regional leadership positions as well. Other significant cost-cutting measures will also be implemented. Those who are impacted will be offered severance, based on years of service, to help support their transition.

“We have had to make some very tough decisions that are nothing short of heart-breaking for our company,” said Signature HealthCARE CEO, E. Joseph Steier, III, who brought the company to Louisville in 2007.  “The entire healthcare continuum has been disrupted by COVID-19 in ways never experienced before, and the associated costs have been astronomical, from PPE and additional facility cleaning and sanitizing supplies, to well-deserved additional pay for our frontline hero caregivers.  Additional costs also covered the increased need for assistance for much or our staff, as schools and childcare have been shut down. All of this, including a census decline from an elective surgery standstill, made a significant impact.  Without the additional needed financial support, we have no choice. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this situation, said Chief Operating Officer, Chris Cox, is how our own state was unwilling to share a portion of the FMAP financing offered by the federal government to assist with our state’s Medicaid patient needs associated with COVID-19. And although our state finally embraced the idea of facility-wide testing for all residents and staff to the point of mandating it statewide, they failed to address the resource needs to accomplish this mandate. It seems they squandered our state resources on a multimillion-dollar COVID-19 field hospital in Kentucky that was never used, not once.”

Out of the 10 states where Signature operates, only a few have committed to providing such funding.  Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina all made commitments. Unfortunately, Kentucky did not.  Signature HealthCARE is the state’s largest long-term operator with 41 centers, and it was left to shoulder the additional COVID-19 related costs, the news release states. 

During the state's COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Secretary Eric Friedlander of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services addressed Signatures decision to make cuts. 

“While I’m sorry for that, I still believe Kentucky has provided an aggressive response for our nursing facilities, and I believe, to this day, that is reflected in the numbers of how Kentucky compares to the rest of the nation," Sec. Friedlander said.

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