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Garrard may lose its hospital beds

August 15, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - The future of acute care at Garrard County Memorial Hospital is uncertain, at best.

"It sounds like acute care will most likely be closed," said Dr. James Workmeister of Garrard Clinic. "The hospital cannot afford to keep it open, and Danville (Ephraim McDowell Health) would not have the funds to run it either."

When asked what the future of acute care in Garrard County is in the wake of Care Centers Management Group taking over both facilities, Long Term Care facility board chairman Ed Montgomery said it is "very hazy."

Judge-Executive E.J. Hasty said he is not sure, either. "I couldn't give you a statement. That's my question, too. But both (the long term care facility and the hospital) are still in operation." Hasty later referred questions to hospital board chairman Leonard Smith.

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According to the agreement worked out between Garrard County's hospital board and CCMG, Ephraim McDowell Health is helping in the "winding down" of the hospital.

Hospital board member Brenda Powers takes that as a finality for acute care services. "I am very sad the hospital is closing," she said.

But at the fiscal court meeting Tuesday, Smith told the court and the people present at the meeting that "today you have a hospital."

Care Centers Management Group Executive Vice President Gary Parker said plans are still being finalized regarding acute care at the hospital. "Many of the details are still in the process of being worked out," he said.

Garrard Magistrate Joe Leavell said he doesn't know what will happen with the acute care facility, but he believes in the end, the Garrard facilities will at least have an emergency room, an X-ray center, and offer long-term care.

Mary Begley with Ephraim McDowell Health said the future of acute care is up to the Garrard County (hospital) board of directors. "If the decision is made by the Garrard County board to no longer provide acute care services, then we are open to exploring the possibilities of using the acute care license in the future to identify ways of providing acute care services to the residents of Garrard and Lincoln counties," she said.

Begley had also mentioned the fact that Garrard County residents are able to use emergency facilities in Stanford and Danville.

"Those are all well and good, but they don't take the place of stabilization and transport in the central and eastern part of Garrard County," Montgomery said.

Workmeister highly disappointed

Workmeister said he is highly disappointed that Garrard could be losing hospital services. "Ultimately, we would lose the emergency room as well," he said. He said if the hospital closes, hopefully they will at least keep the laboratory and X-ray open.

As for what he will do if the hospital closes, Workmeister said he and Dr. Steve Green will still practice at the clinic in Lancaster and will ask for privileges at Fort Logan Hospital and possibly other health care facilities.

Workmeister says 30 days notice must be given before the hospital could close.

Montgomery said he doesn't know what will happen with the 15 critical access beds donated to Ephraim McDowell. Begley said the license for the beds will stay in Garrard County. When asked if they could move to Danville, she said she was "not aware of anything that will allow that."

Montgomery said what happens to the hospital is ultimately up to the residents of Garrard County. "Garrard County needs to figure out what kind of acute care they want and what kind of acute care they need," he said.



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