Doctors Hospital to Convert to Long-Term Health

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Employees of Doctors Hospital in Jackson were informed on Wednesday that the hospital will be converted into a long-term acute care facility by August.

"It's a special Medicare designation that accommodates patients with complex medical problems who have an average length of stay of 25 days," Georgia Fojtasek, President & CEO Foote Health System.

Foote Hospital and Borgess Health Alliance will operate Doctors Hospital. Over the last five years, more patients with Medicaid or Medicare have sought services at Doctors, but the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement hasn't kept up with the demand, making it difficult for the 65-bed hospital to stay open.

Jackson residents needing long-term care have driven as far as Battle Creek and Ann Arbor for such services, and despite the need for such a facility in Jackson, some residents aren't happy with the decision.

"We've gone to Foote, but it's always nice to have a choice," Amy Bursluys, Jackson resident.

"I think it's the worst thing that could happen to Jackson, because Doctors Hospital is a good hospital and Foote doesn't provide the care it should," Debbie Carpenter, Jackson resident.

Not only are health care choices reduced in Jackson, but it's very likely Foote and Borgess will announce lay offs. They say it's too early to tell how many of Doctor's 280 employees will be laid-off, but they say it's important to keep the patients needs in mind.

"We need residents to feel comfortable that we're a large enough facility to have the clinical expertise, and yet personalize care. I think that can be done," said Fojtasek.

And according to some Jackson residents, they hope that goal can be reached.