The Medical Center at Franklin celebrated two milestones Thursday with the grand opening of its new Franklin Medical Pavilion and the 10-year anniversary of when Commonwealth Health Corp. acquired the former Franklin-Simpson Memorial Hospital.
“The best thing that ever happened to the city of Franklin was The Medical Center coming here,” Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Thurmond said. “It has been a wonderful partnership for the past 10 years.”
Franklin-Simpson Judge-Executive Jim Henderson agreed.
“There has been a reform of health care in Franklin over the last 10 years,” he said. “Millions of dollars have been invested in this place. It is a tremendous asset to our local economy, not only in the real dollars it produces for the economy itself but to the draw it is to the economic development of the community.”
Henderson was on the hospital board before CHC came on board. He said Franklin-Simpson Memorial Hospital was suffering because of a lack of experience in managing the hospital the way it needed to be managed. In fact, there were times when only one patient was in the entire hospital.
“We lost $600,000 the first year I was judge-executive in 1999. Our hospital was going to close,” he said. “You can’t sustain a business in that kind of market.”
The hospital is now often full, Henderson said.
“The transformation has been incredible in the facility. CHC has been providing health care for years in southcentral Kentucky,” he said. “They had the expertise to make the hospital succeed. CHC breathed new life into the hospital. The service is as good as you could ever ask for in a small rural community like Franklin.”
Having a first-rate hospital is critical to drawing businesses and industry, Henderson said.
“It’s almost like a domino effect. Companies look for health care options for their employees,” he said. “It’s an investment in the community.”
The new Medical Pavilion is a 17,633-square-foot, two-story medical office building connected to The Medical Center at Franklin’s 25-bed patient care wing. It houses several hospital services, including rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and laboratory, as well as three physician suites. Drs. Robert Wesley and Karuna Reddy have moved their practices there. The project started last summer and costs about $3.4 million.
The hospital also had a separate $5 million expansion and renovation project, which included construction of a new 25-bed patient care wing and renovations of the previous inpatient area that was completed in December 2007.
Franklin Mayor Herbert Williams said he is pleased by the hospital’s expansion.
“We need all the facilities we can get. Since (CHC) has taken over, we see a better facility here,” he said. “We are pleased with what we see going on here. It’s pretty much what a hospital needs to be.”
Clara Sumner, chief executive officer at The Medical Center at Franklin, said the growth couldn’t happen without the commitment of the staff and believes the growth shows commitment to the community.
“Franklin is a growing community, so we had to keep pace. We’re doing what is needed so people can get the best health care at home,” she said. “We want to continue to progress in the community and be an important part of the community.”