Less than two years after taking over operations at Frankfort Hospital, Indiana University Health is exploring whether to build a brand new hospital to replace the 67-year-old building.
IU Health said it plans to hold several meetings in coming weeks with officials from Clinton County and the city of Frankfort to discuss an economic incentive package “to make the project a reality.”
The Indianapolis-based health system disclosed its plans in written materials distributed to Frankfort-area media over the weekend.
“We look forward to discussing the possibility of building a modern medical complex that can provide area residents with the primary and specialty care they need close to home with additional access to highly skilled care in our statewide network,” IU Health Frankfort President Kelly Braverman said in written remarks.
The Indianapolis-based health system operates Frankfort Hospital under a five-year contract that started June 1, 2017. Under the contract, IU Health gets all revenues from the hospital and pays Clinton County $1 million a year in rent.
The previous operator, St. Vincent Health, decided not to renew the lease after 20 years.
The 25-bed hospital, located about 45 miles northwest of Indianapolis, offers a basic lineup of services, including emergency, surgery, imaging and rehabilitation services. It is a “critical-care hospital,” a designation given to certain rural hospitals with no more than 25 beds by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, allowing the operator to get slightly higher government reimbursements. It’s meant to keep entire counties, which are often hours from big cities, from becoming hospital deserts.
IU Health did not provide an estimated cost for the new hospital. The Frankfort Times reported the cost was estimated at $30 million.
Local officials sounded interested in getting a new hospital, according to comments issued to the press.
“My colleagues here in the commissioners’ office and I firmly believe that all of the citizens here in Clinton County deserve to have a modern facility operated by the finest provider in the medical field,” said Josh Uitts, president of the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, in written remarks. “It is with great excitement that we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Indiana University Health to make sure that having a hospital remains part of the foundation of our community for generations to come.”