Franciscan Services set to revive critical access hospital in Ohio

June 1, 2011

A new subsidiary of Franciscan Services Corp. has acquired Twin City Hospital, a bankrupt critical access hospital in Dennison, Ohio. The new owners plan to operate the hospital as a Catholic facility and restore and expand services cut or closed in 2010 when the hospital's financial condition was deteriorating.

"We're going to bring back everything, and then some. That is the plan," said Diane Knerr, director of communications for Franciscan Services of Sylvania, Ohio. Knerr said Franciscan Services' new subsidiary, Trinity Hospital Twin City, will reopen the emergency room at the 25-bed hospital, now also called Trinity Hospital Twin City.

Franciscan Services' Trinity Health System operates an acute care hospital and a long-term care and mental health hospital in Steubenville, Ohio, about 45 miles east of Dennison.

Franciscan Services funded the $4.85 million hospital acquisition in Dennison, Knerr said. According to court documents, Trinity Hospital Twin City was the only bidder on the facility. The sale closed May 10 after it was approved by Judge Russ Kendig of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Canton, Ohio.

Last summer, when Twin City Hospital announced service cuts following successive rounds of layoffs, a senior executive brought in to reverse the hospital's losses told The Times-Reporter in nearby New Philadelphia, Ohio, that a rising number of uninsured patients contributed to the hospital's financial crisis.

Sr. Nancy Surma, OSF, Franciscan Services' vice president of mission integration, said that before pursuing the acquisition, her organization determined it could return Twin City Hospital to financial health while providing care that meets Franciscan Services' high-quality standards.

Sr. Surma said that the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, the sponsor of Franciscan Services, have a long history of going to small towns and either taking over or starting up hospitals. She said two things in particular made Twin City Hospital attractive to Franciscan Services: residents of the "twin cities" of Dennison and Uhrichsville have a long history of supporting the hospital, and the hospital opened a modern addition in 2009 "set up to be a place of wellness."

Knerr said the hospital's 200-plus employees are being asked to stay on with Trinity Hospital Twin City. Consultants Michael Zilm and Lorna Morrow will head the hospital, Zilm as interim chief executive and Morrow as interim chief financial officer.

 

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