Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Fentress Nearing Finish Line For Standalone ER Approval

Fentress County Executive Jimmy Johnson said the county’s standalone ER could receive approval as soon as Wednesday.

Johnson said they are going to Nashville tomorrow for approval of the certificate of need. Current federal rules require a transferring facility connected to a major hospital be within 35 miles.

“We’re just a little small pebble in the ocean here and it takes a lot of people to get this process going,” Johnson said. “There’s been a lot of people locally and a lot of people on the state level and a lot of people on the national level that’s helped us work on this. So it’s one of those things and if it goes through, I believe it will have an impact on all rural medicine in the state of Tennessee.”

Johnson said if the county gets approval, UT-Medical will begin getting equipment in to set up the facility. He said if everything goes according to plan, patients could start being treated by the first quarter of 2022.

He said the county has been without a hospital for roughly two years.

“We’re getting close to the finish line, when we started out folks thought it would be a 10 percent chance and now we’re a lot further than that,” Johnson said. “It’s something that we’ve been looking at and been working on and it finally fell in our lap by accident. That we could get someone interested in it, because we’ve tried to have people interested.”

Johnson said if the standalone ER becomes a reality it will be a relief in the county and surrounding areas.

“It’s something that’s going to take a lot of pressure off our ambulance service,” Johnson said. “If someone goes to the emergency room, now we’re having to transport them or they have to drive their own vehicle to Crossville or Livingston or Cookeville. That being said, it will also take a lot of pressure off of those hospitals there.”

In March, county commissioners agreed to purchase the old Fentress Health Systems building for $655,707 to host the standalone ER.