Rant of the Day: Kindred closing a rare healthcare setback; how about replacing it with expanded veterans’ medical services?

Rant of the Day: Kindred closing a rare healthcare setback; how about replacing it with expanded veterans’ medical services?

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This has been one of the busiest news weeks we’ve seen in a while. Which is why our story on Thursday about Kindred Hospital Rome’s pending closure surprised us.

John Druckenmiller, president and publisher of Hometown Headlines Inc.

Through Friday morning, it was the third most read story we’d posted since last Friday, Feb. 7. That means something because it has been a week we’d just as soon forget.

We’ve had a series of weather stories, from snow to flooding to school closures. And then the continuing investigation into a hit-and-run fatal accident in Cedartown that has drawn a state legislator and police chief into the mix. Plus a story we still don’t believe – the morning we lost a legend and a friend, Nelle Reagan. And finally the jet crash on a snowy Saturday morning in eastern Gordon County that killed four.

But there in the no. 3 spot, with the least amount of time online, was the story about Kindred closing after nearly nine years in the stand-alone building adjoining Floyd Medical Center’s main campus.

Kindred specializes in long-term care and grew locally out of its successful operation on Floyd’s fourth floor for years.

We’ve had some friends who needed exactly what Kindred offered – and recovered enough to resume normal lives.

And in this era where we can’t open immediate care or urgent care centers fast enough, Kindred offered something different. A place for long-term recovery as opposed to a quick diagnosis or maybe a speedy X-ray to determine fracture, break or no substantial injury at all.

A few friends in the healthcare business suggest it was caused, in part, by fallout from new medical procedures, billings and insurance. Maybe so.

The news comes amid the latest medical boom. Harbin Clinic in recent months has opened new offices in Cartersville and has a new building due later this year adjacent to its other offices on Redmond. We’re seeing some other medical upgrades on the way as well in the latest building permits and state records.

We’re seeing hiring fairs to recruit nurses and expanded college curriculums and more after-hours learning for established healthcare professionals.

Amid all this multimillion-dollar investment we have a report about a 45-bed specialty center that is deemed a bust. One hospital directory review we saw said Kindred Rome reported a nearly $2 million loss in the budget year ending Dec. 20.

So maybe that’s why the Kindred story is attracting so many eyes. It is just rare to see a negative medical headline. People were surprised – and even the High Court of Facebook took a mostly positive spin in the comments, recalling healing medical care loved ones had received there over the years.

So now 78 people need jobs. It might not be that difficult as healthcare continues to mostly grow in Northwest Georgia. Still, an unknown number of patients and their families will need to find new care facilities for loved ones. There aren’t that many places that address patients’ long-term needs other than skilled nursing homes.

The Kindred story is a surprise. But as always, the story turns to what’s next.

The Kindred building and the adjoining medical office building are owned by a real estate group. We expect a pretty quick filling of the Kindred space and some of the offices now open following other recent medical relocations.

Here’s hoping someone considers expanded local healthcare options for our veterans. Years ago, when the state was weighing what’s next for veterans’ medical care, we suggested the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital site. That made too much sense.

But the shape, size and overall campus of Kindred? There’s an option to consider.

 

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