Monday, June 17, 2024
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Fentress Gets Approval For Standalone ER

Fentress County and UT-Medical have received approval from the state to establish its standalone ER in Jamestown.

The facility will include nine treatment rooms, including one trauma room.

County Executive Jimmy Johnson said after nearly two years without a hospital, an accomplishment was reached, proving the naysayers wrong.

“It’s just a good day for us here and this is nothing that we did on our own,” Johnson said. “We reached out to people and people thought that we couldn’t but we have.”

Officials are projecting the facility to open mid-2022. The criteria met includes need, economic feasibility, healthcare that meets appropriate quality standards and contribution to the orderly development of healthcare.

The facility will be located at the old Fentress Health Systems Diagnostic Center at 208 West Central Avenue.

Johnson said this is a relief to the county residents and surrounding areas, removing the challenge of having to leave the area to get medical treatment during an emergency.

“Hopefully within the next 30 days they’ll get to come up here and start looking around and looking at what they’re going to do with the building,” Johnson said. “As of right now we’re hopeful that the first part of the second quarter of 2022 we’ll be able to be in operation. CMS will have to come back after they get in operation to make sure they’ve got everything that needs to be done.”

Johnson said the county has received help from the federal to county level on making this happen. However, a key piece to securing a partnership with UT-Medical was securing a long term location for the ER.

Johnson said when the county commission chose to purchase the old diagnostic center, it made this possible.

“We purchased it and it was the only building in town that could actually work unless you went out and built it,” Johnson said. “You’re looking at a very expensive building there and we got it at a reasonable price. There was actually some more people who were trying to buy it but the people that we bought it from stuck to their word and said, ‘you’ve got the first chance to purchase this.”

Johnson said there is not many instances of this kind of approval happening where rules are changed to facilitate community needs when no transferring hospital is near by. He said this day is an important moment for rural healthcare.