It seems Lake County’s only hospital won’t be closing. A new partnership has saved St. Vincent General in Leadville.
Last November, St. Vincent Hospital announced it was planning to close in March due to financial issues. A property-tax increase that would have helped the hospital pay for much-needed repairs was turned down by voters.
Now, things are looking better for St. Vincent General. This week the hospital’s board entered a verbal agreement with Centura Health, a Colorado-based company.
"We will initially be managing the hospital with the intent really to work with that board, the physicians, and providers in the community to develop a long-term solution for care that’s sustainable in Leadville and Lake County," Russ Johnson, the senior vice president of outreach health for Centura, says.
Since last fall, St. Vincent Hospital has laid off nearly half of its staff and ended its long-term care unit and physical therapy services. The hospital is still operating its emergency room and ambulance service.
Last month, St. Vincent’s board heard from three groups wanting to help the ailing hospital. Johnson says he believes the board selected Centura because of an existing relationship.
"Prior to this arrangement St. Vincent General Hospital was an affiliate partner and remains an affiliate partner with Centura," he says. "We have ten other such relationships with rural hospitals. And, so we have a deep commitment to rural health care across Colorado and western Kansas."
Over the next four months, Centura will be evaluating St. Vincent General. After that period it will present its findings to the board and make recommendations for the hospital’s future.