Sturgis Hospital to cease admitting inpatients May 1

Sturgis Hospital Board President Jeremy Gump provided an update Wednesday to commissioners regarding the hospital's conversion to a Rural Emergency Hospital. (Beca Welty|Watershed Voice)

Sturgis Hospital Board President Jeremy Gump provided Sturgis City Commissioners with an update Wednesday regarding the hospital’s new designation as a Rural Emergency Hospital (REH).

Effective May 1 at 7 a.m. Sturgis Hospital will cease admitting inpatients, as it will be discontinuing that service. “We anticipate that if we have inpatients at that time, it may take until about May 6 before we’ve actually cleared the inpatient beds,” Gump said, emphasizing that the hospital will continue to provide outpatient services. “We’re still going to be providing emergency services. That’s the reason for doing this, so that we can maintain emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Gump reported the hospital has had more than 700 emergency room visits this month, and in March the hospital performed more than 10,000 lab procedures and more than 40 surgeries. “Those services will all still continue,” he said. Gump added that the hospital board has recently had discussions with at least three other organizations regarding potential partnerships. 

Mayor Jeff Mullins asked Gump if this announcement concerning the closing of inpatient services means the hospital will be a REH standard as of May 1. “There’s a little bit of cart-and-horse,” Gump said. “You have to go through all of this process, submit the documentation, and then the REH status is granted retroactively.”

Gump said the first step for the hospital will be delicensing the beds, which is what is occurring next week. Once the the beds have been delicensed and inpatient services are closed, the hospital then goes through the process of receiving the formal REH designation. “That’s when, retroactively, we would begin to receive the reimbursements as a Rural Emergency Hospital and the facilities fee.”

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.