The re-opening of the Scott County hospital was the top story of 2013. (Independent Herald file photo)
The re-opening of the Scott County hospital was the top story of 2013. (Independent Herald file photo)


When the Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott officially opened its doors on Dec. 2, it marked a triumphant finale to a saga surrounding the hospital that had stretched on for years. From a health care standpoint, the hospital’s opening was the single most important piece of good news in Scott County in decades. From an economical standpoint, the hospital’s opening marked a rare piece of good news in a stretch of seemingly endless stories of factories closing and declining work forces.

Already, dozens of employees are working at the hospital, while more are likely to be hired in the months ahead before the facility tops out with around 100 employees. The hospital’s long-term goal is to operate as a critical access facility with 25 beds.

As it happened, 2013 did not begin with Pioneer Health Services in a partnership with Scott County. In fact, January began with the Magee, Miss.-based firm not even at the bargaining table. At the time, Scott County was negotiating with S.M. Promen, a start-up firm funded by venture capitalists that had won favor with commissioners by promising to quickly reopen the facility with many of the same jobs and services as when it closed in 2012. Once that deal fell through due to Promen’s lack of funding, however, Pioneer quickly returned to the bargaining table. A deal was quickly approved in the spring, but state licensing guidelines and red tape took a bit longer to negotiate.

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