|May 22, 2014 --
Residents of Horse Cave, Ky., had been waiting nearly a year for the opening of a new medical clinic that will provide expanded healthcare access to the many rural communities in Hart County. In May of this year, that dream was realized and the public turned out in force to highlight the grand opening of the new facility.
The area’s primary medical facility, Caverna Memorial Hospital, was built in 1967 and serves as a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital with two provider-based rural health clinics. One of Caverna’s secondary clinics was housed in out-of-date rental space in the local community. The new clinic will replace that facility and contains significantly more space that should enable the hospital to increase physician practice revenues by more than 30 percent.
In addition to the new clinic, the hospital will be able to increase other patient services, including implementation of a new prescription discount program and the offering of outpatient senior psychiatric services.
When hospital administrators applied for a low-interest loan through USDA’s Community Facilities program in 2011, Hart County ranked 113 out of the state’s 120 counties for overall population health risk. Caverna Memorial is in the city of Horse Cave, which lies in a location federally designated as both a Medically Underserved Area and Health Professional Shortage Area.
For residents, the new clinic means more healthcare practitioners and state-of-the-art equipment -- but more importantly, it means they do not have to drive to another county to get quality medical care. For the community, it means additional jobs and tax revenue and an improved quality of life.
In 2009, hospital administrators purchased land that would increase the campus from eight to 47 acres, including the site of the new clinic. In addition to the construction of the medical office building, hospital administrators are developing the infrastructure of the campus to support future community healthcare needs.
Hart County is one of Kentucky’s 43 persistent poverty counties and is included in the group of more than 700 rural communities targeted by USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative.