USDA withholds funds from rural hospital project, cites slow financial turnaround

Leadville, Colo.-based St. Vincent General Hospital is putting a major construction project on hold because the United States Agriculture Department decided to pause a loan for the project, due to "the hospital's slower than anticipated financial turnaround," according to an announcement from the hospital's board of directors. 

"This news, though disappointing, bolsters our collective commitment to Leadville and Lake County healthcare," Paul Chodkowski, president and CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and CEO of St. Vincent Hospital, said in a press release.  

The emergency department, ambulance service, primary care clinic, laboratory, radiology and physical therapy departments will continue to be open at the hospital as it works to improve its financial situation, according to the statement. 

The critical access hospital partnered with Englewood, Colo.-based Centura Health in 2013. The hospital, which has struggled financially, almost shut down in 2015 because voters rejected a tax increase that would finance repairs at the facility. At that time, Centura struck a deal with St. Vincent to keep the hospital open with more limited services. In 2016, the health system and the hospital decided to integrate operations and jointly build a new healthcare facility in the region. 

Centura and St. Vincent are continuing strategic planning for the construction project. "The hospital board’s number one priority is this community and their health care. We have experienced adversity in the past and overcame it. Our commitment is to our friends and neighbors. Our focus on solutions for our community’s health is unchanged," Byron Copley, St. Vincent General Hospital District board chairman, said in a statement.

  

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