River West Medical Center once again admitting patients

Staff reports

Iberville Parish’s only hospital is once again admitting patients. Thanks to an infusion of cash from the state Department of Health and Hospitals, along with an influx of payments from insurance companies, River West Medical Center began re-admitting patients on Monday.

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The state injected $150,000 to the facility to cover payroll. A hospital official reported that 65 payroll checks totaling $100,000 had not cleared last week.

A number of the hospital’s employees hand their paychecks bounce Jan. 23, but a Medical Center spokesperson said 90 percent of the professional staff and 70 percent of the support services personnel reported to work earlier last week.

Due to staff shortages, however, hospital officials moved a handful of patients to other hospitals and nursing homes. Operations are to continue for the emergency room, outpatient services, physical therapy, and laboratory work.

In the meantime, the state wants to help its parent company, Missouri-based Shiloh Health Services, find a buyer for the facility. The facility opened on Tenant Road in 1984, and replaced Rhodes J. Spedale Hospital.

A spokesman for River West Medical Center cited the general economic downturn in the nation’s health-care industry as well as problems with receiving insurance reimbursements in a timely manner for damage to the facility by Hurricane Gustav. Inpatient services were shutdown for 45 days following Hurricane Gustav due to storm damages. Only a portion of the insurance claim reimbursements have been paid to the hospital leaving a shortage of funds around the estimated $2.5 million dollar mark.

River West is an 80-bed capacity facility that employs as many as 250 full time and part time workers.