(Reporters Steve Patton and Monte Lyons at Missourinet Kennett affiliate KBOA contributed to this story)
A Georgia-based company now says it will build a new $25 million hospital in southeast Missouri’s Kennett, rather than renovating the former Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center. It closed in 2018.
Consultant Kerry Noble, a former chief executive officer at the Pemiscot Memorial Hospital in Hayti, is working with Main Street HealthVentures. He says that the new plan is to tear the former hospital down, and replace it with a state-of-the-art 49-bed full service facility.
“So we’ll be demolishing the old building and putting up a new structure, a new state-of-the-art, it will be a very high-efficient facility,” Noble says.
Noble and Main Street HealthVentures say brand-new heating and cooling systems will be installed, which will mean lower utility costs and greater patient comfort.
The company originally planned to renovate Twin Rivers, when they announced their plans in May. Mr. Noble now tells Missourinet Kennett affiliate KBOA (AM 1540) that building a brand-new facility is best for safety code requirements.
“There were a lot of conditions, standards that were going to be difficult to meet and we had requested waivers, or exemptions, from some of those standards, and of course now that’s no longer going to be an issue,” says Noble.
Kennett, which has about 10,000 residents, is located in the Bootheel, which is the state’s poorest region. Nine of the state’s ten poorest counties are in southeast Missouri.
Kennett Mayor Chancellor Wayne describes the plan as a big step forward for health care in Kennett and southeast Missouri. Supporters of the new hospital say it will impact about 70,000 residents across southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas.
The city has a large elderly population. Kennett residents have had to drive to Cape Girardeau, Sikeston and Arkansas for emergency room care and for hospitalization.
The state Hospital Association (MHA) says ten rural Missouri hospitals have closed since 2014, including Kennett. Five of the ten closings happened in the southeast Missouri district of U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem.
Congressman Smith has described those hospital closings as unacceptable, saying people die when hospitals close.
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