Jellico Hospital asks mayor and aldermen to amend lease

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By Charlotte Underwood

At Tuesday night’s meeting, representatives from the Jellico Hospital appeared before the board of mayor and aldermen asking for a lease amendment.

The current lease is set up on a two year revolving lease with a required one-year notice for breaking the lease. Hospital Administrator David Butler informed the board the hospital’s parent company, Adventist Health, was requesting the lease be amended to a one year automatically renewing lease. The board agreed to amend the lease.

This is the second lease amendment for the hospital in the past year.

“They are requesting we look at another modified lease as a result of the losses the hospital has experiences over the past four years,” Butler said.

He said the hospital had no intention of leaving, and was looking towards alternate possibilities such as taking on a partner to offset costs and stop operating in the red.

“We want to be here. If its better for us to have a partner then we will look at that option,” Butler said. Butler, along with the mayor, is also looking at obtaining state funds and help. There is a meeting set up on May 14 for hospital and town officials to speak with state representatives about the possibility of receiving stimulus money.

“We do feel there’s a good opportunity to get some of the state funds and stimulus money,” Butler said.

Hospital staff attended the meeting to show support of the hospital and the community, but also to ask for the community’s support.

“We need the support of the community,” Butler said. He explained that for the hospital to function, the community would have to turn to the hospital for many of their medical needs, rather than going out of town to other medical centers.

“One of the comments made was that without a hospital, people would die here,” Butler said.

“We want to do everything we can to keep the hospital here.”