Washington County Hospital has reopened after closing suddenly and filing for bankruptcy nearly two and a half months ago. Initially, the hospital will staff about 40 employees, which is fewer than when the hospital ceased operations on Feb. 14. However, all of the hospital’s services will be available to patients, said Tom Waldrep, the Washington County Hospital bankruptcy trustee.
“The ER will be open, there will be inpatient beds, labs, clinics, everything should be operating.”
The 25-bed critical access care facility, which is the only hospital in Washington County, closed due to a lack of medical supplies and staff not receiving their paychecks. Several days after the hospital closed, the Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That forced some in the community to travel more than 30 miles for healthcare services.
"The hospital is a vital component of our healthcare delivery within Washington County which is a Tier 1 rural community," said Chris Potter, Washington County Manager. "It is also a vital component of our economic development and stability for this county that provides a number of essential technically sound jobs that are integrally tied to our economy."
Potter said the County worked with bankruptcy trustee Waldrep to reopen the hospital.
"The county has been able to facilitate conversations with regulatory bodies, state and federal agencies, medical supply vendors, medical providers, third parties who are involved in the delivery of health care, all of these various, different entities with different interests, in order to get the hospital stabilized and try to get it moving in a positive direction again for the benefit of our citizens."
Former employees were promised back pay if they decided to come back to work at the hospital. It could take two to three months for the hospital to return to profitability. At that point, Waldrep said he plans to sell the hospital.