A year-and-a-half after closing its doors, Scott County's only hospital is poised to once again serve the area next week. The facility in Oneida is scheduled to re-open on Monday, December 2.
The re-opening of the hospital, now operating under the name Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott, means closer access to immediate health care for residents of one of Tennessee's poorest counties.
As recently as this month, there was some question of when and how the hospital would open without an obstetrics unit. OB service is required under state rules, and the hospital needed a special waiver from a state panel to open without one. Hospital operator Pioneer Health Systems plans to pursue a permanent waiver at a December hearing.
The 25-bed facility closed in May of 2012, after Scott County couldn't reach an operating agreement with then-operator Tennova Healthcare. Patients who needed urgent medical attention had to be transported to LaFollette, Jamestown or Knoxville. County officials began a search for a new operator that could re-open the hospital. In July 2012, county commissioners announced the selection of Texas-based S.M. Promen to run the facility, but that deal stalled and eventually fell through.
In May of this year, a second deal was announced, this time with Mississippi-based Pioneer Health Systems.
“We’re pleased to have expedited this phase of care while our team continues to work diligently to obtain Critical Access Hospital (CAH) certification for the hospital,” said Pioneer in a written statement.
Getting the critical access certification will allow Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott to continue without offering obstetric services. The hospital will have an acute care facility, but the CAH approval process is expected to take up to 90 days, according to the Oneida Independent Herald.