Health Boards Clash Over Leadership, Finances

Aug 30, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Fayette County Board of Health and HealthFirst remain at loggerheads after a Thursday night meeting of the HealthFirst board failed to address demands made earlier this week by the Board of Health.

Despite placing a tough set of demands on HealthFirst, including the firing of its executive director and a threat to yank future funding, the Board of Health received little in the way of response from the HealthFirst board, which voted 7-0 to contact the federal government for further instructions.

HealthFirst has been working to maintain an $11.7M dollar federal grant to build a new clinic on Southland Drive.

Following a state audit of HealthFirst that raised questions about project manager Ted Mims and the organization’s financial stability, the Board of Health voted to fire HealthFirst executive director William North and place health department financial executive Jack Cornett temporarily in charge of finances.

Health commissioner Rice Leach says he is now overseeing operations "until we get the situation with the board of HealthFirst so that we can recruit for a new executive director. Then the health department can go back to the kind of relationship that we had hoped for all along between the two boards and the two operations."

Leach stresses that the Board of Health is not taking issue with managers within HealthFirst or the care provided there – only the HealthFirst board and former executive director.