Hospital awarded $23 million USDA loan

After more a year of work by local, state and federal officials, the Knox County Hospital Taxing District was formally awarded a $23 million loan for continued operation of the facility.

As more than 100 local leaders, hospital staff members and citizens looked on, U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers announced the loan.

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“The value of this hospital is unfathomable. If you didn’t have this hospital, you have to drive to Corbin for even emergency care. This hospital in invaluable to the health and well-being, not only of Knox County but especially Knox County,” Rogers said. “I want that those of you who have been working tirelessly, and sometimes with hope, to getting a solution to the problem. It is a pleasure us to announce that the USDA Rural Development has provided a $23 million loan to the district to insure that the 250 people who work here will keep those jobs, and the people in this community will continue to have access to the quality healthcare that they need and deserve….”

“This has been a long time coming,” said Knox Judge-Executive J.M. Hall. “This lets us restructure. We had our bonds on 30 years with a high interest. Now, we have a forty year loan with low interest.”

Hall said the loan will free up the bonding capacity of the county, enabling the beginning of other projects that have been on the back burner.

“Today was a big announcement for us. We can now look down the road at building a jail. We are paying over $80,000 a month to house inmates in other counties,” he added. “If we could build a jail and save $40,000 a month, we will create more jobs, and people won’t have to drive to other counties to see their family members.”

Hospital administrator Ray Blair Canady said he it thrilled by the announcement.

“It’s a great day. A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into this…the hospital board, the fiscal court, the judge, and a lot of other people. We are just proud to bring this to Knox County,” he said. “I am tickled to death with it. We have been working on this for over a year.”

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