Adventist Health System to Assist City of Jellico in Identifying Options For a New Partner to Secure Long-Term Future of Jellico Community Hospital
JELLICO, TN – The Jellico Community Hospital Board of Directors has approved a measure to have Adventist Health System (AHS) assist the City of Jellico in identifying options for a new partner to operate the hospital – a partner that is better positioned than AHS to make this hospital a success in today’s challenging healthcare environment.
AHS has decided to exercise the right to end its current lease agreement with the city and the hospital Board of Directors, providing one year’s notice to allow ample time for a successful transition. AHS will provide financial assistance to help the city with consulting expenses to aid in determining the best future for the hospital.
“Clearly, the changes brought on by health reform are requiring us to move in this new direction,” said Rich Reiner, CEO of Adventist Health System’s Multi-State Division. All hospitals today are being called on to deliver higher quality care at a lower cost. Hospitals like JCH, which are “islands” in their market without connections to other nearby health facilities, face even tougher challenges because they have limited ability to share costs and reduce overhead.
“The unfortunate reality is that AHS, with no other hospitals in the region, is no longer the optimum partner for JCH in this changed environment,” said Reiner. Ideally, JCH should be operated by an entity that has other health facilities in the area. This could create cost-efficiencies and shared savings, and could give JCH patients access to hard-to-recruit physician specialists from nearby areas.
“I want to assure the community that we will remain focused on delivering high quality care and ensuring a smooth transition,” said Erik Wangsness, CEO of Jellico Community Hospital. Patients and families will experience no changes during this period of transition.
“Without a doubt, this is a very difficult decision to make. AHS has been part of this community for 40 years,” said Wangsness. “We want this hospital to succeed. AHS is committed to working with the city in the coming months to ensure that we help put the hospital on a path to be financially strong and healthy, so it can go on providing vital healthcare services to this community.”