Welcome to Barbourville, ARH and new CEO Charles Lovell. We are glad you are here!
Hopefully, ARH will be able to keep the current dedicated professional staff employed while also adding new assets and resources. Doing so would expand the list of services and procedures patients can get here in town.
Having a hospital is a huge plus for Knox County. Still, Judge Executive JM Hall and the fiscal court have taken lots of heat for putting millions of tax dollars at risk since they bought the hospital out of bankruptcy almost three years ago. Judge Hall admits it would have been easier to have simply shut it down and implement a hospital tax to cover the huge debt. Of course, then we would have paid more in taxes but not had a hospital.
Comparatively, the deal just made with ARH sure looks like a big win. According to the complex 34 page, recently signed agreement, ARH will operate and lease the facility and equipment, purchase the inventory and rent the building. The initial term is for 10 years, but ARH has options to extend the deal, with up to three more five-year renewals.
Not surprisingly, ARH proved to be tough negotiators. They get a great facility for very little down, some solid tax advantages, along with favorable rates and terms. Plus they gained the right to exercise an option and buy the hospital outright.
Judge Hall, his staff, and all the different magistrates on the Fiscal Court worked extremely hard for years on this project. They overcame huge odds to keep the hospital going. Hospital governing board members Tom O’Dell Smith, Mark Moran, Bob Mitchell, Randall Young, Greg Helton, Derrick Poff, Administrator Ray Canady and the hospital medical staff also deserve much credit. All their volunteer efforts and passionate, dedicated commitment to providing health care for our community are highly commendable.
ARH, given its many affiliations with UK, has a wonderful reputation for delivering high quality health care throughout our region. They have already proven they want to play an active role in our community. They should be great new neighbors.
So, I believe this has the potential to be a true win-win-win deal. Our hospital will now be managed by a huge, professional health care organization. ARH has tremendous expertise, resources, buying power and highly educated specialists. This enables them to successfully operate a hospital better than our local elected officials or board ever could. And as ARH succeeds, their rent and lease payments will cover the bond payments – not our tax dollars.
I think if everything goes as planned, the taxpayers, county officials, hospital staff and ARH all just got a huge gift this December, and it’s not even Christmas yet.
What do you think?