Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Fourteen indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Commissioners donate to task force Voters return Worley to the bench Georgetown Police Department welcomes new officers Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber Meth makes a comeback The bomber crash of 1944 4-H holds ‘shootout’ with BCSO County jobless rate falls Russell K Wolfer SHAC recognizes volleyball all-stars SHAC cross country all-stars take home awards Eastern girls finish runner-up in SHAC golf standings Week 10 football roundup Kathleen J Bright Sister Marjean Clement Veterans Service Office Moves G’town FFA has great fair Bald Eagles spotted 2017 Celebration of Lights being planned Eight indicted by grand jury Carlos L Beck Georgetown XC teams qualify for regional championship meet Warriors advance to Div. II Regional Meet Lady Rockets reach end to successful volleyball season Week nine football roundup Lady Warriors regional bound Amy J Caudill Bertha Lindsey Bobby S Conley Body found in ditch, investigation underway Former Aberdeen Fiscal Officer pleads guilty Keeping kids safe on the school bus Mary E Hahn Gary R Cornette Week 8 football roundup Notable soccer season reaches end for G-Men Lady Broncos are SBAAC American Division XC champs SHAC XC title goes to Lady Warriors Arthur Smith Eugene M Jennings Jr Billy R Kilgore Sr Carol D Roberts Thelma L Gray Sheriff Ellis meets President Trump Quarter Auction to pay for fire engine restoration Upcoming Quarter Raffle, Oct. 14 to benefit PRC Man found dead in ditch Rev Alvin B Woodruff Jackson L Russell Lady Broncos bring home 11th SBAAC American Division title in 12 years Lady Rockets wrap up regular season Warriors rally for win Broncos make it two in a row Helen L Whalen Veterans saluted at the Brown County Fair Fayetteville cancels school after threat Tommy J Stamper Sue Day Broncos move closer to SBAAC American Division title Lady G-Men working hard, showing improvement Sports complex soon to open in Mt. Orab Week 6 football roundup H Ray Warnock Jennings faces multiple sex offenses Georgetown nears water system completion Bible Baptist Barbeque brings big crowd Linda Taylor Rene Sizemore-Dahlheimer Eugene Snider Eric Workman Gregory Terry Edith M Moore Eileen Womacks Michael C Jennings Janice K Brunner Cheer squads compete at ‘Little State Fair’ Truck, tractor pulls draw a crowd at Brown County Fair Week 5 football roundup Lady Broncos rise to 11-6 with win over Batavia

Georgetown Fire and EMS chief Joe Rockey recounts “brutal” year following closure of Southwest Regional Medical Center one year ago

GEORGETOWN — Without much fanfare or an announcement, Southwest Regional Medical Center shuttered their doors one Friday afternoon, a little more than a year ago.

The hospital’s closure on September 26, 2014 sent shock waves throughout the county. Hundreds employed at the hospital and its sister home care offices were suddenly unemployed, as SWRMC woke up that morning to find they could not pay their reported $500,000 bi-monthly payroll bill.

There were some warning signs leading to their ultimate demise, like when repo men showed up at the hospital and began taking furniture and equipment out of the hospital following a court order. The hospital administrators and its then-lawyer, Rob Hoskins, managed to return the equipment back inside, but it seems that the hospital didn’t have an answer for the many debtors asking for their money all at once.

After failing to make payments on both medical equipment from the Georgetown Emergency Group and an MRI machine with CIT Group, a court order led to garnishment’s on the hospital’s funds, leaving them as dry as a desert. The disastrous financial management under former President and CEO Dr. Krishna Surapaneni forced the hospital to close.

Since the hospital closed, there have been many folks across the county and the region affected, but the hardest hit were the emergency response agencies located closest to the hospital.

Georgetown Fire and EMS, Hamersville EMS, Higginsport EMS, and Russellville Fire and EMS have all struggled dealing with the longer drive times when picking up a patient, as they are now all forced to take patients either to Mercy Health – Mt. Orab Medical Center, Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital in Batavia, or Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital in Anderson Township.

“It’s been brutal, to be honest,” Georgetown Fire and EMS chief Joe Rockey said. “We cover 54 square miles, so for the most part, in 15 minutes or less, we could be at a facility (SWRMC) offering and rendering care. Now, our options are Mercy Mt. Orab, which is a good facility but we’ve been instructed if there’s a patient that should be admitted, we should take them directly to an admitting hospital, which is either Mason County, Kentucky, Clermont, or Anderson.

“Our transport times have more than doubled, at best, and that’s just if we go to Mt. Orab.”

The longer travel times to admitting facilities has led to a scheduling nightmare for Rockey, even though the Fire and EMS department remains self-sufficient.

“The problem is that we pay our EMTs per run, so they went from making so much per hour before to below minimum wage now,” Rockey said. “And a second problem is the time it takes (to transport). Before, I could leave my house, complete an EMS run, and be home in an hour. Now, it’s three or so hours. At best, an hour and 45 minutes.

“So if you’ve got to work tomorrow, and with the number of calls we’re answering now, knowing you’re going to have two runs tonight, are you willing to give up four hours of sleep. That’s where the problem lies. They just can’t physically do it. People who were running two or three times a week are now going on runs one night a week.”

The closure of the hospital has forced Rockey and the department to adjust, and they’re surviving for now. But in the future, with more calls and a longer distance to a hospital, ambulances will need to be replaced by the village on a faster basis.

At the same time, the village of Georgetown and other surrounding townships have had to deal with a drop in tax revenue. According to Georgetown Mayor Dale Cahall, SWRMC employed around 200 people, some of whom were earning high wages, and the closure of another former medical facility, Meadowood Nursing Home, caused around 80 jobs to leave the county.

A few years ago, Georgetown raised their income tax rate, so the village hasn’t felt the full brunt of the loss in tax revenue. In addition, Cahall hinted that there’s a chance the hospital could be re-opened in the future, under new management.

“There is still interest in the hospital,” Cahall said. “I’m hoping something will come soon, but that’s yet to be determined.”

Perhaps the hardest hit though are the elder citizens of Brown County. With Mercy Health – Mt. Orab a limited medical facility, retired-age Brown County residents likely now must drive either to Cincinnati, Clermont County, Adams County, or Mason County, Ky. if they want to have a medical procedure done.

In addition, if they suffer a life-threatening injury, such as a stroke or a heart attack, the long distance to make it to a hospital decreases their chances of survival.

According to U.S. Census data from 2010, 14.4 percent of residents in Brown County were 65-years and over, which is 1.4 percent above the national average. According to estimates of population data in 2014, that number of retired-aged residents in the county has increased to 16.7 percent, 2.2 percent above the national average.

“As a patient, that hospital literally saved my life twice,” Brown County Commissioner Barry Woodruff said. “The downside to it being closed from a patient perspective is that if I get sick now, it’s a drive to Mt. Orab, or Clermont Mercy, or if I’m in the southern part of the county, you drive across the bridge to Maysville.

“When that dried up and went away, what do you do in case you have a super emergency, or child birth, etc.? That’s the part that kind of haunts us in the background.

“I always said that was one of the most precious assets that Brown County ever had. Now, unless an entrepreneur comes in to revive it, we’re kind of dead in the water.”

As of October 1, 2015, the hospital is under receivership, under the direction of Sumner “Sonny” Saekes, according to a clerk at the Brown County Court of Common Pleas. Saekes is the principal of New Growth Advisors, an organization that deals with strategic planning, corporate renewal, interim management, and asset recovery systems.

The hospital currently employes five people, who’s sole job is to retrieve medical files for patients requesting them.

Brown County Commissioner Barry Woodruff said Brown County residents are “dead in the water” with Southwest Regional Medical Center closed. The hospital has been closed since September 26, 2014.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_SWRMC-DanKarell-.jpgBrown County Commissioner Barry Woodruff said Brown County residents are “dead in the water” with Southwest Regional Medical Center closed. The hospital has been closed since September 26, 2014.
Georgetown leaders weigh in on how the closing of the hospital has impacted them

By Daniel Karell

dkarell@civitasmedia.com

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2016 News Democrat