On Monday, Scott County commissioners voted to approve a contract with SM Promen to reopen the Scott County Hospital next year.
According to the agreement, SM Promen will close on the building by December 17. The next step would be to get Medicare and Medicaid certification for the hospital. That process could take a while, according to Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals. Officials hoped to have the hospital open by January, but they may not make that deadline. However, Mayor Tibbals said it was nice to see that the facility was one step closer to reopening.
"It's a good day when we can get the purchase agreement taken care of, and that's a big step," he said. "It was August 6th when we started this process."
Under the contract with Promen, Scott County can buy back the hospital building if the Texas company ceases operations within the next two years. Also, Promen must operate the facility as a hospital for its first six years.
Former hospital worker Steve Leeds said he believes the hospital will come back in a timely fashion.
"Good lord doesn't want us to be without a hospital," he said.
S.M. Promen said in the past it would like to hire as many as 140 employees as soon as it can get that hospital fully operational.
Scott County commissioners may vote on a hospital contract as early as Tuesday night.
The hospital shut its doors in May when the county could not reach an agreement with the previous company, HMA. They've been trying to reach an agreement with SM Promen over the past few months to reopen the hospital.
Monday night, the commission failed to approve a two year covenant with SM Promen because of a disagreement over one issue in the contract. The covenant in question would ensure the medical building be operated as an accute or critical care facility.
Initially, Scott County wanted the said covenant to span 12 years. Tuesday, Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals said the two parties have settled on a six year covenant.
Attorneys on both sides are working out minor details in the contract.
Tibbals may call a special commission meeting Tuesday if he receives a revised version of the contract by 4 p.m.
Additionally, the county mayor says a second covenant, which lasts two years, is listed in the contract.
The second covenant would provide Scott County the option to purchase the facility back if SM Promen ceases operations in the building within the two year time frame.