Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says giving struggling hospital additional money is "no-brainer"
KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -
Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says the city had no choice but to help bail out the financially struggling Keokuk Area Hospital again.
The city council unanimously voted to approve another $100,000 to the hospital for the second year in a row.
The state will now pitch in $150,000 as part of a federal program.
Marion says closing the hospital would be detrimental to the city.
"It's a no-brainer," Marion said. "We have to have a hospital. We would lose 300 jobs if the hospital goes under and it's much easier to retain jobs than to find new jobs. You know if we lose over 300 employees than some of them are going to go other places."
He says he's confident that the facility's latest efforts to reach out for additional state help to turn the hospital around are working.
"From what I hear, it is pretty certain that there could be a loan from the state with no interest for the first couple of years which will really make a difference for the hospital and at that point in time I think we can move on," Marion said.
Hospital consultant Duane Fitch of Fitch Healthcare says he is pleased with the city's decision and the money is critical in the successful turnaround of the financially struggling hospital.
"The Keokuk board of directors, medical staff, and the employee base have all worked tirelessly in an attempt to overcome the long standing financial challenges of the organization and to preserve this critical healthcare access point as well as significant economic contributor to Keokuk and surrounding communities," Fitch said. "We are thrilled with the support from the overall community including the Keokuk city council."
Fitch plans to make his case to the Lee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday about getting $100,000 from the the board as well.
"We are very hopeful that the Lee County Board of Supervisors will also take the necessary action during their meeting next week to activate the other half of this critical federal program," Fitch said.
The supervisors gave the hospital the money last year, but voted it down last month.
If board supervisors change their minds the state would kick in an additional $150,000 as well.
This would bring the total help from the county, city and state to $500,000, which is the amount the hospital received last year from the collective group.