Heartland hospital's future looking brighter after crucial tax approval

The Iron County Medical Center's future is looking brighter after a much-needed tax approval...
The Iron County Medical Center's future is looking brighter after a much-needed tax approval from the voters in March. (Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
Updated: Apr. 24, 2018 at 3:14 PM CDT
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PILOT KNOB, MO (KFVS) - The Iron County Medical Center's future is looking brighter after a much-needed tax approval from the voters in March.

The center in Pilot Knob, Missouri is still currently fighting a debt of millions, but leaders are now solidifying a plan that will get them back on their feet.

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CEO Joshua Gilmore has been continually fighting to keep the hospital doors open for the community and said he is confident that it will work. 

"What this does is it puts us one step further in the right direction towards becoming financially sustainable," Gilmore explained.

Chapter 9 bankruptcy was also filed which helped relieve some financial pressure during the critical and uncertain time. A gr ant from the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development (DRCHSD) Program was awarded as well.

Medical center leaders asked for resident's help with a half-cent sales tax which was approved by nearly a two-thirds vote. 

"It really truly shows the grassroots desire to ensure that this facility is here for the long term," Gilmore said. "This community is ready to do whatever it takes to make sure that we get and stay sustainable so that we can continue to meet their healthcare needs long into the future."

Gilmore said the approval of the tax showed him that the community wants their medical center to stay as much as he does.

"Really it's huge," Gilmore said with a smile. "Even bigger than just the financial impact of the vote is the commitment of the community to the organization. It is really amazing to have that kind of support."

Gilmore stated these were all pieces of the puzzle in order to save the hospital from closing their doors.  They are also working on other areas that will also help generate additional revenues for them to get back on track, into the black and out of the red.

"No one thing on its own was capable of actually getting us from where we were historically to sustainability," Gilmore added. "It took the whole of it to make it work."

The debt they have accrued over the years coming into the filing of bankruptcy is all being renegotiated. 

"At the end of the day, we end up with an approved plan that shows we are able to be sustainable moving forward," Gilmore explained. "It's approved not just by ourselves but by the vendors and by the bankruptcy court itself."

Gilmore said he believes that their financial situation should be out of the red and into the black within the next six months to a year. 

"This modeling shows we can indeed be in the black and sustainable moving forward," Gilmore said. "It's very promising."

Months ago, Gilmore was worried about the future of the hospital. Now, he feels they are in a much better situation in handling the financial debts and will be able to build and grow in the future.

"The sky's the limit," Gilmore added. "We can make this work. We can ensure that we are here to meet the needs of the people of this region for years to come."

Gilmore even stated with the medical center here to stay, this can only help the community in the area to continue to sustain itself as well and possibly see more growth.

"With ensuring the ongoing availability of medical services, the hospital and emergency care here in this community is going to be a huge plus when it comes to attracting new businesses and tourism," Gilmore said. 

He also stated that none of this would be possible without the support of everyone through the hospital's uncertain time of need.

"Just a huge thank you to the community and to everyone for stepping up and supporting us in this difficult time as we work towards being here for the future," Gilmore said.

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