Scott County hospital to open December 2

Scott County hospital to open December 2

Posted:
An emergency hearing with the agency was held Tuesday afternoon in Nashville to speed up the reopening of the hospital. An emergency hearing with the agency was held Tuesday afternoon in Nashville to speed up the reopening of the hospital.
After being closed for 18 months, The Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott will now open Dec. 2. After being closed for 18 months, The Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott will now open Dec. 2.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - After being closed for 18 months, The Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott will now open Dec. 2, if the licensing process goes accordingly.

An emergency Certificate of Need (CON) was granted to the hospital Tuesday during an emergency hearing with the state's Health Services and Development Agency in Nashville Tuesday.

The certificate is good for 120 days and would speed up the re-opening process of the hospital.

The hospital would include  emergency, lab, surgery and radiology services.

"[Patients] now can come to the ER. We have now the capability of coming the hospital," said hospital CEO Tony Taylor. Taylor says the hospital is staffed and ready to go.

Pioneer Health Services, the Mississippi health care provider which was selected earlier this year by the Scott County Commission to purchase the 25-bed hospital, wanted to discontinue obstetrics services in order to get the hospital open sooner.

The Scott County mayor and hospital administrators pleaded to the top three members of the state agency because of the ongoing lack of access to emergency services. They can no longer wait for the hospital to reopen.

"It's certainty compelling that emergency services are available a great distance away, and that could make the matter of life and death for somebody," said James Christoffersen with the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency.

The county's Emergency Management Services director told the agency members the hospital couldn't go on with emergency response times of more than an hour. Area residents had to travel to Anderson, Knox or surrounding counties, and ambulance worker overtime costs skyrocketed because of added travel.

"It's not only going to be relief for them, but for the equipment, it's going to be a saving grace for the people of Scott County," said Mayor Jeff Tibbals.

Hospital administrators decided to discontinue OB services at the hospital to speed up the opening process. The state requires a general acute hospital to operate obstetrics services.

The emergency certificate allows the hospital to open now instead of waiting maybe months for approval of the license to operate an OB.

"We're not saying 'no' to never having OB services; we are saying 'Let us get the hospital open, get things open, then look at the services,'" said Brown.

Pioneer Health will still have to go before the state board on Dec 18 regarding the C.O.N. application for permanent discontinuance.

The Health Services and Development Agency says they will scrutinize those services closely to see if the hospital is ready for OB care, though administrators are willing to operate without it.

The county will also receive three new ambulances next month, paid for by a state grant.

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