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Scott Co. commissioners delay hospital vote

2:24 PM, Jul 17, 2012   |    comments
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Scott County commissioners have voted to delay their vote on the future of the Scott County hospital until Thursday.

County commissioners will meet at 5 p.m. in the Scott County Office building.  Many commissioners wanted to delay the vote to learn more about one group that presented its proposal to the county only one week ago.

In all, three different out-of-state operators have approached Scott County with proposals to reopen the facility.  The interested parties include Alliant Management Services, of Louisville, Ky., Pioneer, of Magee, Ms., and S.M. Promen of San Antonio, Tx.

S.M. Promen would also have Ameris, out of Nashville, as one of its consultants.

Each of the three parties presented their proposals to the public Monday before the county commission.  In 45-minute periods, they offered numerous details as to how they would run the Oneida hospital.

The first group to give a proposal was S.M. Promen.  It told county residents it was interested in buying the entire facility.  According to S.M. Promen President Irving Sawyers, under his company's management, the hospital would hire 140 employees and invest $2 million dollars in order to provide the facility with the best possible technology.

Sawyers said his company would also have a local CEO to oversee a facility that would have 60 beds.


"I got interested in the hospital by coming to visit and finding a facility that was going to close for not a really good reason," said Sawyers of his visit just before the hospital closed in May.

Following S.M. Promen, Pioneer gave its presentation.  The group, which also committed to having a local CEO tried to win over support because of its rural roots.  According to Steve Fontaine, vice-president of hospital operations, Pioneer runs facilities in 9 other locations where the population is between 10,000 to 40,000 people.

The group offered to buy the facility from the county for $100 and hire 90 to 95 people within its first year.

"We live and breathe rural America, it's where we like to be. We like to be in the Southeast," said Morgan Dunn, vice-president of business development for Pioneer.

The final group to present an offer to the public was Alliant Management Services, which wants to lease the hospital anywhere between 10 to 15 years.  The group offered to retire all of the county's outstanding debt within its first year of operation and open the emergency room in 60 days.  It also said in the long-term, it would be interested in building a new facility altogether.

Alliant Management Services also had another offer.

"A well-capitalized group of local investors is partnered with us as Alliant Management," said Alliant President Tim Jarm.

According to Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals, six local investors were interested in helping with Alliant's proposal.  Some of them included Brewster Builders, the Lumber King, and the Potter family.

Jarm said the other funding would come from local banks. 

However, it was on that point where things stalled Monday.   The commission wanted to know when Alliant would have its bank funding secured; the Louisville group could not give an answer in return.

Without all of the details to Alliant's proposal in front of them, some commissioners then thought it would be best to delay the vote until Thursday. 

"They delayed it 3 days, which is better than what I thought was coming where they [commissioners] would delay it two weeks or another month," Tibbals said. "I think we can live with 3 days."

The decision to delay the hospital vote did not bother some Scott County residents, who said they also welcomed more time to see what Alliant had to offer.

"Locals are going to be more dedicated," said Scott County resident Serina Shoemaker.  "I think all three groups are going to be dedicated but, I don't know, you like local because they're committed right there with you."

During Monday's meeting, commissioners briefly discussed which proposal they liked the most with the information that was given to them.  The majority said they liked Pioneer.



Previous story

Scott County commissioners will meet Monday night to discuss the future of the Scott County hospital.

The hospital shut down in May after the contract with Tennova HeathCare expired.

On Monday, commissioners will hear from three different groups who hope to reopen the hospital.  Two firms, Ameris and Pioneer, have submitted proposals on how they would run the hospital. 

The third group is made up of several Scott County business leaders, from Brewster Builders,  J&M Construction and Lumber King.  The group is proposing that they lease the hospital from the county and contract with Alliant Group of Louisville, Kentucky to operate the hospital.

Commissioners will meet with each of the interested groups starting on Monday at 4:30 pm.  The meeting where they may vote on which proposal to accept is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm, though it could be later depending on how long the earlier meetings last.  Their will be an opportunity for public comment.


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