Petition For Emergency Care Facility With Over 4,200 Names Sent to State Officials

With well over 100 senior citizens looking on, local attorney Jim Romer, who has spearheaded an effort  to establish a freestanding emergency treatment facility here, handed over  more than 200 pages of a petition containing more than 4,200 signatures of local citizens  to County Executive Jimmy Johnson to be taken to state authorities in Nashville Friday, December 20.

The event was held at the Fentress County Senior Citizens Center, after which Mr. Romer spoke with members of the local news media, stating:

“This book has several tabs — the first 6 pages is a summary of 6 pages for easy reading by whoever sees it in Nashville.  Step 1 realizes we have a problem.  We also know from experience and history that there are other rural hospitals around here which have closed and stayed closed.  We do not want that to happen here, and we have developed the strategy to get lots of signatures to show the local support to send an army to Nashville.

“County Executive Jimmy Johnson and the County Commission have been concerned about this for months and that concern is right.  We feel that with their help and the groundswell of help here that we pick a strategy for getting this done, and in the Department of Health Regulations in the State Health Plan is the idea of setting up a free-standing emergency department.  It is set up with the idea of having a licensed hospital in good standing set up an emergency department in our county.  They would be responsible for choosing the site, improving it to the standards demanded by the state health department and their own standards, staffing it, and arranging for the billing and payment of billing.  They would already have the Medicare-Medicaid approval  because they were a hospital in good standing.

“The recommendations for Step 2 is to bring this to the attention of government leaders in Nashville.  It’s a known fact that the government has a lot of control over the delivery of healthcare.  The Department of Health and all the sub-departments and agencies pertaining to hospitals..

There are two things that have to be done: The first is a certificate of need and a license.  License # 48 at Jamestown Regional Medical Center has such problems with it that  if they wait and see on it, because it’s in inactive status, and nothing will happen for a good while.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.