New hospital site plan from certificate of need proposal

A proposed new hospital project in Kennett cleared a major hurdle Monday in Jefferson City. The Missouri Facilities Review Committee approved a certificate of need application on the proposed 49-bed acute care full-service hospital by Mainstreet HealthVentures.

Mainstreet HealthVentures consultant Kerry Noble told Missourinet affiliate KBOA that the construction could set an example.

“I think it will be a showplace for smaller rural hospitals who are trying to work out of old, antiquated, outdated facilities to use as a model,” Noble said.

The Georgia-based company submitted a 62-page certificate of need application for the project. They plan to demolish the former Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center, which closed in 2018.

The hospital will open on May 1, 2022, according to the plan. It will be about 70,000 square feet. There would be 37 adult acute beds, six pediatric acute beds, and six intensive care unit beds.

Plans also call for a 24-hour emergency room with seven beds and an urgent care clinic for non-emergency patients. The new hospital will also include a four-room inpatient/outpatient surgical suite, with a surgical recovery unit. It also will have a 24-hour clinical lab and 24-hour medical imaging, including CT and MRI.

State lawmakers from across southeast Missouri have written letters supporting the planned new hospital. State Rep. Herman Morse, R-Dexter, the House Special Committee on Aging’s vice chairman, notes Kennett has a large elderly population.

“That hospital (Twin Rivers) was the only hospital that was actually in Dunklin County. The other closest places are Paragould, Arkansas or Piggott, Arkansas, which is an 18-bed facility I believe,” Morse says.

Kennett residents now have to drive to Arkansas, Cape Girardeau, Sikeston or Poplar Bluff for emergency room care and for hospitalization. Supporters of the new hospital say it will help about 70,000 residents across southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas.

Representative Morse, whose wife graduated from Kennett High School, tells Missourinet that Dunklin County must have a functioning hospital. He says Paragould, Jonesboro, Hayti and and Poplar Bluff are too far from Kennett, in an emergency.

“Jonesboro is almost 50 miles from Kennett. And so, it’s just difficult, and I think there would be lives lost in just not having the hospital that close,” says Morse.

State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, and State Reps. Andrew McDaniel, R-Deering and Dale Wright, R-Farmington, have also written letters in support of the new hospital plan.

Kennett is located in the Bootheel, the state’s poorest region. There have been five hospital closings in southeast Missouri since 2014, including Kennett.

Noble, also a former chief executive officer at the Pemiscot Memorial Hospital in Hayti, said building a brand-new facility is best for safety code requirements.

Kennett Mayor Chancellor Wayne also backs the new hospital plan, describing it as a big step forward for health care in Kennett and southeast Missouri.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full four-minute interview with State Rep. Herman Morse, R-Dexter, about the planned $25 million hospital project in southeast Missouri’s Kennett on August 12, 2020:

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