A ceremony is scheduled for Friday evening in southwest Missouri’s Monett for a new state-of-the-art $42 million hospital. Monett, which has about 9,000 residents, is located between Joplin and Springfield.

A drone photo above the new Cox Monett hospital in southwest Missouri (December 2020 photo courtesy of Springfield-based CoxHealth)

Springfield-based CoxHealth broke ground on the facility in 2019, and it’s taken about two years to finish. Cox Monett President Darren Bass is grateful to be part of the CoxHealth system, noting other rural Missouri hospitals have closed.

“That really affords us the ability to streamline and centralize and have a lot of the nonpatient function areas covered by a system,” Bass says.

Bass says being part of a system allows the Monett hospital to focus their revenues on infrastructure, growth and on employee retention.

The Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) says ten rural Missouri hospitals have closed, since 2014. The new 70-thousand square foot Monett hospital will replace the current facility, which opened in 1953.

Bass says patient transition to the new hospital will begin Friday at 6 p.m.

“We’ll actually open our emergency department in our new hospital at 6 pm and we will maintain the emergency department at our old hospital until the last patient is moved out,” says Bass.

COVID-19 patients will be the last to move, and Bass says they’re working closely with the local ambulance district. CoxHealth says the new facility is part of their mission to ensure that rural Missourians have access to health care, especially critical, time-sensitive situations.

Mr. Bass tells Missourinet that rural health care is critical. He’s urging rural Missourians across the state to support their local hospitals and health care providers.

“Just be thinking about what happens if you’re not using your local health care services, your neighbor probably isn’t either. And there’s only so long that that hospital or health system can manage if they don’t have the volume coming in the doors to stay afloat,” Bass says.

Friday’s ceremonies will start at about 5 p.m. There will also be a moment of silence for the current hospital.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with Cox Monett President Darren Bass, which was recorded on January 20, 2021:

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