Small rural hospital is so old it can’t recruit new doctors
(Editor’s note: This story was originally published April 22, 2021 at 10:58 AM EDT - Updated April 22 at 6:51 PM on wave3.com)
GREENSBURG, Ky. (Great Health Divide) - It’s the only hospital in Green County and young doctors do not want to work there. The building housing Jane Todd Crawford Hospital (JTCH) in Greensburg is so old and outdated, administrators say they cannot recruit new doctors.
“They (potential recruits) look at it and it’s not a place where they’d like to come practice right away,” Medical Director Gary Partin said. “We could certainly use more specialty input and certainly have more physicians as well.”
In February, groundbreaking on a new $20 million hospital signaled what administrators hope will soon be the end of their recruiting problems. It will also be the end of trying to maintain an obsolete building that has been a financial drain for more than a decade.
“When a hospital or any business gets in trouble they start thinking how can I cut costs,” hospital CEO Rex Tungate said. “So this hospital made the mistake a lot of them do. They cut positions, they cut hours in the billing department.”
Tungate was hired as CEO 16 years ago and rescued Jane Todd Crawford Hospital from near bankruptcy. He tried to find someone to buy the facility but no one was interested.
“The major players from Louisville, even one I think from Bowling Green came in and did their due diligence,” Tungate said, “and they just said it wasn’t possible to save it.”
There are no specialists on staff and no surgeons at JCTH. Rooms are occupied by 19 patients, served 24 hours a day by five doctors. Three more doctors staff the emergency room, which sees at least a dozen cases a day.
“If we have somebody we can’t take care of, if they need surgery or have major illnesses like brain trauma or something like that,” Tungate said, “they would go to Louisville, Lexington, sometimes Glasgow or Bowling Green.”
The current hospital opened in 1962 and is older than most residents of Green County.
Construction of the new hospital is expected to be complete in the summer of 2022. It will serve the medical needs of Green County for the next 40 years.
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