Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 28, 2012

City officials approve PVGH sale

St. Anthony to take steps toward ownership transition

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — With the vote going as many suspected and hoped for, the process of selling Pauls Valley General Hospital has now officially taken the crucial first step.

It was during a special meeting Thursday evening the city council and hospital authority unanimously approved the only proposed sale offer from St. Anthony Health System, solidifying a process eight months in the making.

Since the management agreement began back in February, the sale of the facility was gradually deemed the best option for both entities and resulted in the request for proposals back in September.

Those with the authority felt it was necessary in order to handle both years of financial decline through debt and find a way to make PVGH more attractive to patients.

“We are pleased about the prospect of enhancing our health care ministry by working closely with the physicians and staff at Pauls Valley General Hospital to serve the health care needs of the community,” SSM Health Care Regional President Joe Hodges stated in a press release.

According to the proposal accepted, the purchase basically comes down to Anthony parent company SSM Oklahoma paying $7.6 million for all of the land and property. This figure would then cover all short-term and long term debt as well as provide options for improving the community hospital.

In addition, SSM promises to commit $2.7 million for facility renovations and the purchase of new equipment.

This is broken down into $1.5 million dedicated to renovation along the lines of the surgical suite as well as the emergency department and $1.2 million for equipment like a new CT.

Some of the changes outlined through the proposal include an eventual transition of the existing PVGH board to a community leader based advisory council that will provide guidance to SSM’s board of directors.

The name of the hospital itself is also expected to change to St. Anthony Pauls Valley Hospital, Inc.

“Being a part of a larger health care system offers many advantages for a smaller hospital in the era of health care reform,” PVGH Board Chair Allen Eubanks said in the same press release.

There is no immediate plan to reduce employee numbers from the current 215 individuals and the Pauls Valley facility will remain a non-profit entity.

As far as medical staff they will be invited to officially join the SSM Oklahoma system and most, if not all, of the services currently offered from hospice to EMS will continue under the new ownership.

The steps now include SSM signing a letter of intent outlining the proposal which begins a 90 days due diligence process where all information connected to the hospital would be opened up for examination.

If St. Anthony and the city are still in agreement on a proposal after that time, the city and authority would then enter into an official contract after about an additional 60 days with a goal of closing sometime around April 2013.

“Working with St. Anthony through the management agreement over the past year has given us confidence that they are focused on the best interests of our community,” Mayor Tim Gamble stated in the same press release.