By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – The Cookeville City Council has approved a resolution that will result in the sale of Cumberland River Hospital (CRH) to Rural Hospital & Clinics of America, LLC, a newly formed Crossville corporation founded by Johnny Presley.
The resolution is a joint resolution that was approved last Thursday by the Cumberland River Hospital board of trustees. The resolution temporarily shifts ownership of CRH and its property to the CRH board of trustees and authorizes CRMC CEO Paul Korth and Cookeville City Manager James Mills to complete the sale of the hospital to Rural Hospital & Clinics of America, LLC.
“I want to thank you guys for trying to get medical service back to Clay County,” said Cookeville Councilman Mark Miller prior to the vote.
“That was my utmost job responsibility, I felt like, once we determined the unfortunate situation of having to close that facility,” replied Korth. “Ever since that time I’ve been looking for somebody to partner with, somebody to purchase that, somebody to open up services back there so the citizens of Clay County and Celina have some kind of convenient health care services, and I think we’ve found an individual that is going to be able to do that.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
“We are glad to have a buyer for Cumberland River Hospital,” stated Korth in a statement distributed after the meeting. “It’s been our hope all along that we would find a buyer that would keep health care services available in the Celina and Clay County area. The passing of this resolution allows us to work toward a closing date and finalize the sale of Cumberland River.”
Now that the sale is approved by the Cookeville City Council, there are still a few steps.
“We still have some approval processes with the state, the attorney general and the department of health, but those are secondary,” said Luke Hill, CRMC chief legal counsel.
According to Korth, Presley wants to close as soon as possible, and it could happen as soon as Friday, Aug. 2.
Korth said that Presley could open a clinic almost instantaneously, as soon as he gets providers and gets people in there for a clinic side. Opening the hospital back up requires state approval and Presley has already met with the state and other individuals to hopefully speed that up.
“The purchase price of $200,000 includes real estate and hospital assets,” said Hill. “It is everything that was included before (in the previous RFP) minus the home healthcare license. That is separate and we’re still determining our options with the home healthcare license.”
According to information provided at the CRH board meeting on July 25, Celina Healthcare, LLC, based in Clinton, Tennessee, with Stephen Clapp and Dr. Mark Clapp (his brother) listed as owners, is interested in the home healthcare portion of the business.