JAMESTOWN — Rennova Health has accomplished the first step towards reopening Jamestown Regional Medical Center, the company announced late Monday.
Rebecca Lagan, Rennova’s marketing director, said Monday night that Palmetto GBA — a CMS-contracted Medicare administrative contractor — has “confirmed completion of its assessment of our application to reactivate our Medicare enrollment and has made a recommendation for approval to the Tennessee Department of Health.”
Jamestown Regional has been closed since June, days after CMS terminated the hospital’s enrollment in its Medicare program. The inability to be reimbursed by the federal government for services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients is a death knell for rural hospitals. CMS’s action followed months of surveys in Jamestown, where it cited a lack of payments that had resulted in a loss of services and other deficiencies at the Rennova-owned hospital.
Since that time, Rennova has said it is working to reobtain its Medicare certification and reopen the facility. Two weeks ago, Rennova rejected a purchase offer from a firm that recently purchased the shuttered hospital in Clay County, reaffirming its commitment to reopen the Jamestown facility.
On Monday, Lagan said the next step for Rennova is to begin rehiring staff at Jamestown Regional and reopen the hospital to prepare for surveys, which will be conducted by a state survey team on CMS’s behalf to ensure compliance with the conditions of participation in a Medicare agreement. CMS must first determine that all conditions are met, then it will issue a decision on whether Jamestown Regional can once again participate in the Medicare program.
“This is great news and enables us to make plans and develop a schedule to reopen the hospital,” said Michael Alexander, CEO of Jamestown Regional. “We are excited to reopen and provide healthcare to the local and surrounding area and while we do not yet have a date set, we will be working diligently to ensure reopening happens as soon as possible. We look forward to working with the various parties to ensure the reactivation of our Medicare agreement and successful future of this hospital.”
Seamus Lagan, CEO of Rennova Health, said the company is “delighted to cross this important hurdle and look forward to Mr. Alexander’s experience and leadership delivering a successful outcome to this process.”
Alexander has over 30 years of healthcare experience, including more than 20 years of administrative experience in rural hospitals. He spent 10 years as administrator at Tanner Health Systems in Georgia, where he managed a 25-bed critical access hospital with $98 million in annual revenue and 22,000 annual visits to its emergency department.
Alexander was hired at Jamestown Regional just days before the hospital closed in June.
Rennova says it is confident that CMS will agree to its participation in the Medicare program.
While Jamestown Regional has been closed, Rennova-owned hospitals in Oneida and Jellico have continued to operate without interruption.