West Tennessee Healthcare loses millions, renames local hospitals

JACKSON, Tenn. — “We continue to see significant drops in volume through the month of April,” said West Tennessee Healthcare Chief Financial Officer Jeff Blankenship.

Screen Shot 2020 05 26 At 9.05.49 PmWest Tennessee Healthcare officials met virtually Tuesday.

Blankenship said the month of April shows in-patient hospital discharges were down 32%, surgical cases were down 63%, emergency visits were down 46% and clinic visits were down 35%.

This puts the overall budget at less than 40%, leaving West Tennessee Healthcare with a $26 million loss.

“We brought back a large number of employees,” said West Tennessee Healthcare CEO James Ross.

Although the budget continues to take hits, 675 employees are currently furloughed, compared to the original 1,600.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, West Tennessee Healthcare approved a resolution to move its EMS station in Chester County to a new location.

This property is at 320 Quinco Drive. Leaders said they intend to sell it to the county.

“This property to the county for $35,000,” said Blankenship.

Members also voted to buy property at 569 Skyline Drive in West Jackson, currently being leased by Sports Orthopedics and Spine.

“This resolution would authorize the system to engage a developer, to purchase that property, and also authorize the healthcare system to enter a lease,” said Blankenship. Leaders say the property will be used to relocate their surgical services, which have recently expanded.

How much it will be leased for, has yet to be determined.

Finally, members voted to rename local hospitals to keep the branding of West Tennessee Healthcare consistent.

“So I’m asking to change the assumed names to West Tennessee Bolivar Hospital, West Tennessee Camden Hospital, and West Tennessee Milan Hospital,” Amy Garner WTH Communications Officer.

Healthcare leaders expect limited improvement for the month of May but look forward to offsetting their losses by federal and state relief initiatives.

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