PRESS RELEASE- St. Marks Medical Center: Hope for Continued Hospital Operations Brightens
St. Mark’s Medical Center (SMMC) and Hospital Center of Excellence (HCOE) have signed a term sheet establishing intent to transfer operational control of the hospital to HCOE. SMMC’s CEO Mark Kimball says, “Over time, the hospital has seen a fundamental shift away from inpatient to outpatient care, making it increasingly difficult to finance an underused hospital asset. Combined with the high mortgage obligation, cash flow continues to be a significant challenge and HCOE comes to us at a critical juncture.” The SMMC board recently approved the sale of 38 acres to the south to raise money to continue operations, which, thanks to the buyer, has made continued operations possible.
The term sheet calls for a Corporate Member Substitution that will replace Community Hospital Corporation (CHC), currently the Sole Member of SMMC, with HCOE. SMMC will retain its mortgage obligations as well as other vendor liabilities. CHC has agreed to forgive its approximately $1.4 million long term receivable. HCOE will bring an estimated $8.5 million in local private investor funds to make necessary repairs and upgrades to the facility, recertify medical equipment, provide ongoing working capital, and return outpatient surgical services to the hospital. The transfer is planned for September 1, 2023.
Craig Moreau, CEO of HCOE, points out there is a critical demand for a hospital serving the health needs of Lee and Fayette Counties. Moreau states, “According to the 2020 census we have a median age that is over 12 years (36%) greater than the median age of Texas. According to the CDC, our residents are six times more likely than those who live in counties with access to top level vascular care to die from diseases of the circulatory system including heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.” The citizens of our counties need access to surgical intervention and HCOE will bring a range of medical service lines to SMMC. Moreau says, “I am thrilled that local investors are the ones who are making this possible.” The strategic plan calls for quickly reopening the operating and procedure rooms for a range of outpatient services in addition to continuing to provide quality care under the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) status. The hospital will establish relationships and credential providers across Lee and Fayette Counties. The hospital will then begin recruiting medical providers to fully utilize the hospital and the nearby privately-owned Medical Office Building (MOB), as well as the space formerly occupied by SMMC in the Giddings clinic.
Dr. Russell Clark, serving as the HCOE Chief Medical Officer, announces the first services identified for return include outpatient general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and endoscopy. These services will have the provisions for observation care, if required. While REH rules prohibit inpatient stays, the status does allow for observation care not to exceed an average length of stay of 24 hours. HCOE is currently discussing with local and regional providers, other potential outpatient services including urology, ENT, ophthalmology, dialysis, pediatrics, oncology treatment, IV infusion, and mental health. HCOE is also considering telemedicine and telepharmacy options providing access to medical specialists.
Sam Wilson, HCOE chief strategy officer, says, “Earning trust and confidence of the community is paramount to success. Transparency will be front and center of everything we do. HCOE is committed to keeping the public informed about its hospital, the challenges it faces, and the plans for returning the larger hospital to a center of healthcare excellence for our residents. HCOE has established a Facebook page found at Hospital Center of Excellence HCOE and a website at www.HospitalCOE.com where updates will be posted. To discuss the future of the hospital, feel free to contact Sam Wilson directly at Sam@HospitalCOE.com.
HCOE is a non-profit Texas domestic company formed for the purpose of reinstating the rural acute care hospital serving residents of Fayette and Lee Counties. The hospital seeks to provide emergency room care open to all; outpatient surgical capability for treatment of patients, with observation care if required; and integrated specialty care for patients with a range of medical needs commensurate with the community health needs assessment. In addition to Moreau, Clark and Wilson, Brian Biggs, CPA, MAI – Chief Financial Officer, and Greg Garrison - Chief Legal Officer are members of HCOE. All are local residents and none are being compensated for their efforts.
Contact: Sam Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer Hospital Center of Excellence
Sam@HospitalCOE.com (713) 408-3317