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Lee County Supports KAH

The Lee County Board of Supervisors
The Lee County Board of Supervisors

Lee County is showing support for Keokuk Area Hospital as the Board of Supervisors has pledged $100,000 to the financially-strapped hospital.

There is one condition with the contribution.  It must be matched or even exceeded by the Keokuk City Council.

Keokuk Area Hospital CEO Wally Winkler says the city and county are being asked for support the hospital in the hopes of receiving additional state funding.  He says there is money available to help hospitals, like Keokuk, that receive inadequate reimbursements for services.

Winkler says the plan hinges on legislation sponsored by State Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) being approved during this legislative session.  It increases the chances for state support if local funding is added to the mix.

Winkler says the $300,000 in local funding that is being sought could result in a package of nearly $4-million in state, federal, and local money, but he says there is no guarantee that will happen.

Winkler says the county’s contribution would not be needed if Keokuk Area Hospital gains critical access status.  That designation allows qualifying hospitals to receive higher federal reimbursements for the services provided.

Winkler says there are no guarantees, but he says the fact that KAH was allowed to apply for the status is a step in the right direction.  The hospital has been seeking the designation for years.

KAH is facing an uncertain future because of the abnormally high number of indigent patients being served by the hospital because it must absorb the costs for the services performed.

Fort Madison Community Hospital CEO Jim Platt supported the supervisors’ contribution to KAH, as long as it is a one-time contribution.  He says FMCH does not qualify for the state and federal funding this contribution could secure.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.