Scott County hospital to open in August

ONEIDA (WATE) – Scott County’s hospital is set to open on August 8.

Big South Fork Medical Center announced Friday afternoon the hospital would be opening at 8 a.m. on that date.

The hospital closed in July 2016 after its previous owner, Pioneer, declared bankruptcy. Pioneer had bought the hospital after it closed in 2012.

Previous story: Scott County hospital is hiring, hopes to reopen soon.

Rennova Health closed on the sale of the hospital in January. Big South Fork Medical Center is classified as a Critical Access Hospital (rural), with 25 beds, a 24/7 emergency department, operating rooms and a laboratory that provides a range of ancillary diagnostic services. The facility includes a 52,000-sq. ft. hospital building and a 6,300 square ft. professional building on approximately 4.3 acres.

It hasn’t been an easy year for those who call Scott County home.

“I’ve had to go out of town for my hospital visits,” said Sarah King.

Crews have been busy remodeling the emergency room. There’s also new radiology, ultrasound and echocardiogram equipment.

CEO Tony Taylor says a number of physicians and nurses will be returning to work at the hospital, but there are also a number of job openings.

“We’ve just started contacting and reaching out, but for any nurses or lab techs that want to apply,” he added.

The hospital is taking job applications through their Facebook page.

Over the last year, seven different companies and investment groups have shown interest in purchasing Scott County’s hospital, including one deal that fell through. Ultimately Rennova Health closed that sale.

“We are the first hospital for them and they’ve got the funding to get us going and keep us going,” said Taylor.

Scott County Ambulance Service has had to rush to LaFollette or Jamestown during an emergency, since those are the closest hospitals. Logistics have been tight caring for a community of more than 20,000 people.

“We’ve been averaging about 2.5 hours per call on our shorter runs. Sometimes it gets between 3-3.5 hours,” said Jim Reed, the director for ambulance services.

In 10 days, those trips won’t be nearly as long.

“It’s going to help lower our burden some,” added Reed.

Scott County’s Chamber of Commerce has been carrying a burden too, spending the last 13 months working with lawmakers to make sure everything was going smoothly.

“There’s nothing that can take the place of a hospital and to know that it’s going to be back open, staffed by community people. We’re getting them home, that’s an important thing to us,” said Executive Director Stacey Swann.

Taylor says the hospital has a new Medicare number and so there may be an inconvenience for just a few weeks.

“We will be out of network with all the insurance companies when we first open up because they require Medicare number, which we don’t get until Medicare comes and does their survey, after we open.”

Everyone in the community, no matter their connection to the hospital, is excited.

“We had a long year. We’re looking forward to the hospital opening,” said Reed.

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann said in a statement: “Today is a great day for the community of Scott County. I would like to applaud state and local community leaders who have worked tirelessly to reopen the Scott County hospital. This hospital is a valuable asset to the community, providing jobs and critical medical care to local residents.”

Told the community got to choose the name of the hospital. There will be a celebration on August 8 and all are welcome to come. Hospital staff says it starts around 7:30 a.m. with a prayer and the doors will then be opened.

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