Hospital, City Deal with Uncertainty
Sistersville City Council and administrators from the city’s hospital have a lot of decisions to make in the future.
Rural hospital care across the country is in danger because of red tape and increasing costs. Sistersville General Hospital is dealing with a lot of pressure.
When City Council met Monday with SGH representatives, the parties agreed to form an exploratory committee to discuss which options would be best to preserve the city-owned hospital.
Council and SGH plan to open up lines of communication and formulate a plan to preserve the hospital in this harsh regulatory environment.
West Virginia University Hospitals has expressed an interest in merging with SGH, but only if the city gives up control of the hospital.
If the city gives up control of the hospital, then it could potentially lose Tyler County’s sole health care provider. Not only that, but SGH is the second largest employer in the county. If an outside entity closed the hospital or drastically cut staff, the whole county would be affected.
Though there are risks to losing SGH if the city gives up control, there are also benefits. A private not-for profit hospital would be better able to secure the grants needed to improve outdated systems and possibly attract outside investment. SGH estimates it would cost at least $25 million to upgrade outdated equipment and facilities. A bond issue would be a tough sell to residents.
City Council and SGH agree that change is important if the hospital is to survive and thrive.
By taking a measured approach and formulating an active plan to achieve these goals, the hospital can continue to serve Tyler County into the future.