In the end, that exact timing may be the reason for the hospital’s undoing.
Now deep in the red two years into the pandemic, the 29-bed, $40 million hospitals with a soaring, sun-drenched lobby and 110 employees is among three medical centres in the United States that say they are missing out on millions in federal pandemic relief money because the facilities are so new they lack complete financial statements from before the crisis to prove how much it cost them.
In Thomasville, located in timber country about 95 miles (153 kilometres) north of the Gulf Coast port of Mobile, hospital officials have worked for more than a year to convince federal officials they should have gotten $8.2 million through the CARES Act, not just the $1 million they received. With a total debt of $35 million, the quest gets more urgent each day, said Curtis James, the chief executive officer.
“No hospital can sustain itself without getting the CARES Act money that everybody else got,” James said.
Employees are trying to save money by cutting back on supplies, but residents, including Judy Hutto, are worried about the hospital’s future. Hutto drove there recently for tests from her home 15 miles (24 kilometres) out in the country.
“The areas need it,” she said. “It’s a nice hospital.”
CEO Barry Beus also is trying to plug a gap at Rock Regional Hospital, located south of Wichita in Derby, Kansas. The hospital is due as much as $15.8 million, officials said, but because it only opened in April 2019 and lacked complete pre-pandemic financial statements, it has received just a little more than $985,000.