A long road to get Pauls Valley's closed hospital back open got the best news of all last week as approval came for the facility's license.
Just one day before that news members of Pauls Valley's city council and trust authorities voted to formally approve the hospital's change of ownership to the Southern Plains Medical Group.
It's Southern Plains that's been working for some time to make the renovations needed for the building to reopen again as a hospital.
With the news of the hospital's acute care license – the same one in place at the time of the facility's closure back in October 2018 – being reactivated it means PV is likely to have an open hospital in just a few weeks.
“It takes us one step closer to offering services to the community,” said Richard Mathis of Southern Plains, who as CEO has overseen all the renovations to the building over the last year.
“This will ramp up things on the operational side,” he said, referring to the hospital license being returned to an active status.
“Now I see us being open around the first of March.”
Mathis told the PV Democrat a week ago he had received an email from an Oklahoma Department of Health official with the news the license had been activated. He expects a hardcopy of that license to come soon.
With the license now ready to go it means Mathis plans to focus all his attention on getting the hospital ready with the “supplies, support and employees needed to open and see patients.”
The plan was also to get with city of Pauls Valley officials to finalize an agreement in place for some time for Southern Plains to purchase the hospital and all the equipment inside, which includes a $5 million price tag.
Local officials looked to be on the same page as members of PV's council, municipal authority and hospital authority voted on Jan. 12 to authorize the sale of the hospital and make the needed ordinance changes for the agreement to be finalized.
“The Southern Plains attorney and I have worked through the purchase agreement,” City Attorney Jay Carlton said to council members at last week's meeting.
“It proposes all the terms you've been discussing for I don't know how long.”
It was all smiles for the three council members present as city officials have been working with Southern Plains for some time to get the hospital back open under the ownership and operation of Southern Plains.
“I'll happily make that motion,” council member Patrick Grimmett said three times for the different items related to the hospital sale.
Mathis also said Southern Plains is responsible for a $500,000 line of credit which the group acquired through the city of Pauls Valley since the city still owned the hospital building at the time renovations were being made.
The hospital's CEO adds he will be contacting the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is responsible for entering into agreements with operating hospitals to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
When the hospital does open Mathis says it will offer things like an emergency room, direct client services, imaging and lab work and surgery. It will also include 43 beds for patients admitted into the hospital.