Rural hospital to reopen after closing for six years

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — A rural hospital in West Tennessee that closed six years ago will soon be the first to reopen in the state.

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Community members in Haywood County are ecstatic to get back what was once a staple in their county.

“Tennessee, especially, it has the highest rural hospital closure rate per capita, and we’re really excited to make Haywood to be the very first to reopen, and kind of reverse the trend,” Braden Health’s chief compliance officer and director of government affairs, Kyle Kopec, said.

Tuesday, community members heard great news for their health: their hospital is reopening.

Six years ago in 2014, Haywood Park Community Hospital flat lined, and shut its doors to the public.

After it closed, the closest hospitals were in Ripley and Jackson, each about 30 minutes away.

“While the great emergency care services providers have tried their best to quickly and safely transport people to the nearest hospital, they’ve still seen tragic effects,” Beau Braden with Braden Health said.

Now, a company called Braden Health could be what officials call their county’s saving grace.

“It is a game breaker for Haywood County. It’s hard to put into words what it means to this county, because we’ve had healthcare problems since it closed,” Haywood County Mayor David Livingston said.

Haywood County officials held a signing ceremony, officially signing the hospital over to Braden Health to begin breathing life back into a community staple.

“It’s going to take an investment of about $6,000,000, and that’s going to start with tearing off the roof and putting a new one on, facility upgrades, equipment, and hiring costs,” Kopec said.

Reopening would create 134 jobs in the community.

Not only will reopening bring jobs, but also new technology to help patients and hospital workers.

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The companies Hillrom and Philips held a demonstration of new equipment coming to the facility, including a bed with contact free monitoring abilities, patient lifts, and much more.

“The opportunity to partner with Braden Health and provide them with modern medical technology as they expand care in rural areas, it’s really an honor for our company,” Hillrom’s VP of communications, Howard Karesh, said.

“During critical times, you’ve got to have more than just a doctor’s office,” Mayor Livingston said.

Haywood Park’s reopening is planned for next October, if everything goes smoothly.

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