Jamestown Hospital Cuts Staff, But Vows to Stay Open

Jun 11, 2019

The 85-bed Jamestown Regional Medical Center is operating on a limited basis, as it tries to restore payments from Medicare and Medicaid, which are generally the primary revenue sources for rural hospitals.

The hospital in Jamestown, Tenn., is cutting its staff but vowing not to close. The facility is in trouble because as of Wednesday, it's been cut off from Medicare or Medicaid, and local officials fear the facility can't make it.

"We've even been to Nashville to talk to the governor," says Jamestown Mayor Lyndon Baines. "But right now, there's not much we can do."

Jamestown Regional Medical Center was purchased by a struggling Florida lab company one year ago. And financial turmoil began almost immediately, with many bills going unpaid, including for electricity.

Baines says he's never met anyone from the new ownership company in person, though they used to be reachable by phone.

"But now, when we call them, all we get is a busy signal," he says. "So I don't know what the deal is there. I don't know if they're blocking our calls or what."

More: Florida Lab Company Buys A Third Struggling Rural Hospital In Tennessee

Rennova Health says in a statement it has laid off 20 people to cut costs while trying to come into compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which will cease payments Wednesday. The company blames its money woes on a mistake when switching over to a new billing service last year that resulted in a backlog of unpaid claims.

It says it's working to resolve the problem.

"Rennova Health and Jamestown Regional Medical Center are committed to the citizens of the communities we serve for the long term," the company said in a letter to patients. "We look forward to sharing more positive actions with you in the future as we correct the current situation with CMS."

On Monday, Rennova also named a new CEO in Jamestown.

The company recently purchased two other rural Tennessee hospitals in Oneida and Jellico that have also been on the brink of closure in recent years. And as recently as last month the Oneida hospital had to delay payroll, but Rennova has said that the facilities could work together to expand services in the region.

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