Missouri’s Senate Majority Leader says he’s working with state health officials and leaders in mid-Missouri’s Boonville in an effort to reopen a hospital which closed last week.
Pinnacle Regional Hospital is located in the district of State Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, who’s the Majority Leader. Last week’s closing impacts about 160 employees.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, is also concerned about the Boonville hospital’s closing. Schatz says reimbursements are a major issue for rural hospitals.
“And obviously those rural hospitals struggle with that type of population of being, they’re payment-based and things of that nature, so it’s problematic,” Schatz says.
Pro Tem Schatz tells Missourinet that rural hospitals are critical to their communities. He notes the importance of Missouri Baptist Sullivan hospital in his eastern Missouri hometown.
“I live in Sullivan, Missouri and obviously we have a good rural hospital right there, but again, they struggle at times meeting financial obligations that are there,” says Schatz.
As for Leader Rowden, he says Pinnacle ceased surgical operations after the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) discovered that Pinnacle allegedly wasn’t sterilizing surgical tools and equipment.
DHSS spokeswoman Lisa Cox tells Missourinet the agency and Pinnacle agreed to a 90-day suspension last week. Rowden says that gives any potential buyers time to repair and reopen the hospital as quickly as possible.
Rowden also praises Columbia-based MU Health Care for holding open interviews this week in Boonville, for affected staff.
Senator Rowden also says he’s outraged at reports about how Pinnacle has treated their employees and patients. He notes those are his constituents.
Hospital closings have been an issue in rural Missouri. The “Columbia Missourian” reported in June that six rural Missouri hospitals had closed, in the previous five years.
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