Cookeville Regional Officially Sells Celina Hospital

State Representative Kelly Keisling, new Celina hospital owner Johnny Presley (center), Celina Mayor Tonya Spears, Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan, CRMC Legal Consultant Luke Hill (back right), and CRMC CEO Paul Korth (Photo: Logan Weaver)

The sale of Cumberland River Hospital in Celina is now official.

Officials with Cookeville Regional Medical Center and new hospital owner Johnny Presley met in Celina Wednesday to celebrate the transaction with state lawmakers.

Presley said work still needs to be done before the hospital can be fully functional, but added he looks forward to serving the citizens of Clay County.

“I’m excited about getting it open,” Presley said. “Waiting all this time on getting the state approval and federal approval is aggravating because I know there’s lives that need to be taken care of right now. But hopefully, with some help, we can get through it quicker than the six-month process usually takes.”

Presley and Rural Hospitals and Clinics of America will need to obtain proper licensing and approval from Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) before providing full services.

Presley said he hopes to have the hospital reopened in some form by the end of this month.

“Realistically… I’m shooting for Aug. 30th. It’s what I put on my initial start date with the state,” Presley said. “If the community, legislators, senators, and people get on the ball, it can happen.”

State Representative Kelly Keisling said the Tennessee Department of Health is aware of the acquisition and has Cumberland River Hospital “on its radar”.

“We’ve got their full attention in getting this expedited and opening as soon as possible,” Keisling said. “Now again, the feds play a big part in this so we are dependent on them – CMS – so we’re ready to fly up (to Washington D.C.) if we have to to meet with both of our senators as well as Congressman (John) Rose.”

Presley said reopening the hospital will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of Clay County residents.

“We always talk about ‘the golden hour’. You’ve got basically an hour or else the patient dies,” Presley said. “There’s no way you can get to a major trauma facility from here in an hour… We’re in no man’s land, as you would say. It’s very important that we get healthcare back in here and open this hospital back up.”

Cookeville Regional Medical Center approved Presley’s $200,000 bid late last month after cancelling an offer from Celina Healthcare for $300,000. Cumberland River Hospital has remained closed since March 1.

Presley has spent nearly 35 years in the healthcare industry beginning in 1985. He currently owns multiple medical clinics in Carthage, Clarkrange, Crossville, and Jamestown.

Published by Logan Weaver

News Reporter and Graphic Designer

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