Mississippi firm revives Patrick hospital

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Pioneer Health Services plans to restore many of the medical services that had been cut back or discontinued at R.J. Reynolds-Patrick County Memorial Hospital.

Mississippi-based Pioneer signed a five-year lease with Patrick Hospital Investors LLC to operate the facility. The company has the option of buying the hospital in the first three years.
Before Pioneer took over on March 1, the hospital had reduced services, laid off some employees and closed its acute-care unit and operating room. Joe McNulty, Pioneer’s founder and president, says that, in addition to restoring services, more will be added. “These critical-access hospitals are tough to operate,” he says. “The key is working with the local physicians” to provide the services their patients need, McNulty says.

Pioneer provides billing and collection services for critical-access hospitals, which get their cost-based reimbursements from Medicare. The company owns two hospitals in Mississippi and manages facilities in several other states.

McNulty says his company learned about Patrick County Hospital through a random business encounter by one of Pioneer’s sales executives. “It started a conversation, and there you go,” he says.
McNulty says that many members of the hospital’s previous management team would stay and other employees who had been laid off would be rehired. “We’re adding back some of the people who have been there in the past. We just think it’s going to be an outstanding opportunity,” he says.

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