New Morgan Memorial Hospital clears final hurdle
T. Michael Stone
The plan to build a new hospital in Morgan County cleared a final hurdle recently when John Anton agreed not to continue litigation aimed at stopping the project. The Morgan County Hospital Authority agreed to pledge never to ask the county for additional money beyond the $1million annual subsidy in the county budget and to have authority chairman Terry Evans resign in June when his term is up.
The agreement clears the way for a new facility.
The hospital authority has long held that no tax increase would be required to support the new facility which will be financed by a loan of $35 million from the USDA which was approved by last December.
The new hospital will be constructed on 24 acres donated by the Ream Corporation. The property is located on the Hwy 441 bypass near Ag South.
Hospital CEO Ralph Castillo says the hospital hopes to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in the next 60 days with the new hospital seeing patients by the end of 2018.
“We’re happy to be moving forward,” Castillo said. “The new hospital will be a great thing for the citizens of Morgan County.”
According to hospital sources, the current facility sees at least 8,000 patients per year in the emergency room, including 400 with life threatening conditions.
Plans for the new hospital include modern operating rooms and an updated ER. The hospital also impacts 174 jobs and an estimated economic impact of $10.5 million in Morgan County.
Castillo the Morgan County Board of Commissioners last July that 13 counties, including Greene, Putnam and Newtwon send patients to Morgan County facility with 74 percent of the patients from Morgan County. Fifty-seven percent of cases handles at the hospital were either urgent care or more severe.
Castillo also said that the hospital had hospital had been in the black financially for two consecutive years, earning an exceptional rating during hospital inspections in the process.
The Morgan County Memorial Hospital opened in 1960, according to the hospital’s web site.