Thursday, October 8, 2015

Another rural Ky. hospital will become part of a new group to stay afloat; Glasgow's hospital is buying Columbia's bankrupt one  
Another rural Kentucky hospital is merging with a larger hospital system in order to keep its doors open.

T.J. Regional Health, the parent company of T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, just announced its plan to buy Westlake Regional Hospital in Columbia and its clinics, according to a news release.

“Westlake has been an important part of the healthcare infrastructure of Columbia and Adair County for 35 years," T.J. Regional Health President and CEO Bud Wethington said in the release. "We see great opportunities to collaborate with the physicians and employees to grow the health care services and continue its efforts to advance the health status across the region.”

Westlake is owned and operated by Adair County Public Hospital Corp. and the Adair County Hospital District, both of which are in bankruptcy.

The Glasgow hospital has recently cut and adjusted salaries and offered early retirement to reduce costs, and was surprised when The Medical Center at Bowling Green bought Caverna Memorial Hospital in Horse Cave, which referred many patients to Glasgow. Now the Glasgow hospital looks to rebuild its network by buying the one in Columbia.

(Base map from Google maps)
Metcalfe County, between Glasgow and Columbia, has no hospital. The Columbia hospital is close to the tax-supported Russell County Hospital in Russell Springs, a critical-access hospital that was managed by Baptist Health Lexington until about a year and a half ago.

The proposed acquisition is contingent upon multiple factors, including reaching certain agreements with creditors, confirmation of a Chapter 9 bankruptcy plan by a federal bankruptcy judge and of approvals from state and federal regulators. 

More consolidations are expected. Fleming County Hospital in Flemingsburg recently merged with a larger hospital system to stay afloat. Rural hospitals in Nicholas and Fulton counties have closed in the last year.

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