Scott County inches forward with attempt to reopen hospital

Scott County inches forward with another attempt to reopen hospital

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The former Saint Mary's Hospital in Oneida has been closed for nine months. The former Saint Mary's Hospital in Oneida has been closed for nine months.

HUNTSVILLE (WATE) - Another step forward was taken Monday in the process to find a new buyer for Scott County's only hospital.

The former Saint Mary's Hospital in Oneida has been closed for nine months.

Pioneer Health Services signed a letter of intent last week to take over the hospital.

Scott County commissioners vote unanimously Monday to approve the property agreement.

Mayor Jeff Tibbals says he expects the property agreement document to be complete on Thursday.

Once that happens, the attorney general's office will have to sign off on the contract. 

A bid to reopen the Oneida hospital failed last month when a potential buyer, SM Promen, was unable to come up with financing to purchase the hospital by the Feb. 28 deadline.

The missed deadline was after an initial Jan. 31 deadline had also passed. County commissioners voted to extend the deadline once, but the deal still fell through.

County Mayor Jeff Tibbals announced a potential solution Monday evening.

Tibbals says there is a letter of intent for Pioneer Health Services to take over and reopen the hospital.

Pioneer could take control between 45 to 60 days, but it would still be several weeks before a staff can be hired and the hospital reopened.

Pioneer plans to re-open all hospital departments, including opening an extended hours physician clinic, which will be located in the current emergency room.

The hospital closed last May after the county's contract with former operator HMA ran out and was not renewed.

A previous attempt to reopen the hospital failed last month when a potential buyer, SM Promen, was unable to come up with financing to purchase the hospital by a Feb. 28 deadline, which was extended from an earlier Jan. 31 deadline.

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