Tennessee hospital blames involuntary diversion for closure

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Cumberland River Hospital in Celina, Tenn., will remain closed, owner and CEO Johnny Presley told the Livingston Enterprise

The rural hospital closed Aug. 7 and placed its license on inactive status. At that time, Mr. Presley cited several reasons for the closure, including a severe staffing shortage and the inability to secure funding or grants from the state. 

Mr. Presley recently told the Livingston Enterprise that the main cause of the closure was the local EMS not bringing patients to the hospital. He says Clay County (Tenn.) Operational Medical Director Mark Pressley, DO, instructed the EMS to divert patients to other hospitals. 

"I'm not going to reopen the hospital until these problems with EMS in this county are resolved … The local EMS blatantly refuses to transport patients to this hospital, which is a violation of Medicare rules and also a violation of patients' rights," Mr. Presley told the Livingston Enterprise

Mr. Presley first claimed in August that patients were denied transportation to Cumberland River Hospital by the local EMS. At that time, Dr. Pressley said he met with the hospital's CEO and the Clay County EMS director in April to review the hospital's capabilities. He asked for updates as the hospital's capabilities increased. He said he received no further communication, according to News Talk 94.1.

The August closure marked the second time Cumberland River Hospital has closed in recent years. The hospital closed in March 2019 due to financial challenges. About five months later, Mr. Presley acquired the rural hospital. He reopened the facility April 18 after buying new equipment and supplies and securing a Medicare provider number.

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