LEXINGTON, Ky. (8/29/13) – HealthFirst Executive Director William North has been fired as an employee of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
The unanimous move made by the Fayette County Board of Health happened in a special meeting Wednesday night. Also, the board moved to request the HealthFirst board of directors resign from their duties, and to temporarily put Jack Cornett, the health department's financial executive, in charge of HeatlhFirst's operations.
The decision by the Lexington Board of Health stems from issues concerning an audit from Kentucky State Auditer Adam Edelen. According to the Lexington Board of Health, HealthFirst did not efficiently take care of those issues.
HeatlhFirst's delay of spending an almost $12 million grant to build a new public heatlh facility was another factor in the decision. The grant has been in HealthFirst's possession since 2010.
Whereas North is no longer an employee of the health department, he is still considered the executive director of HealthFirst until HealthFirst's board votes to remove his title. Thus, the Lexington Board of Health also decided with a conditional motion that if HealthFirst's board does not comply with the moves, they will no longer supply funding to HeatlhFirst.
These conditional decisions sparked some concerns from HeatlhFirst employees, who were worried about the stability of their jobs as well as the welfare of their patients.
“Should my staff show up tomorrow to work? Will they get paid on Friday when pay day is due if funds are cut off,” asked Deborah Stanley, medical director of HealthFirst.
Lexington Board of Health Chairman Scott White addressed those concerns by saying as long as HeatlhFirst complies, there should be nothing to worry about, and that the motions pertain to the HeatlhFirst's executive board, not the employees.
“This issue, although it impacts you and affects you, it is not of your nature. You shouldn't have to pay the consequences of this. So we're going to do everything we can to make sure this is seemless for you,” said White.
The Board of Health moved to meet with the resigning members of HealthFirst's board to make an effective transition. HealthFirst executives will meet Thursday evening to address the motions.
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