Normandy (Mo.) Community Hospital just north of St. Louis shut its doors last week for the second time in seven years.
The 40-bed hospital, formerly a not-for-profit, closed for the first time in April 1993 and reopened under new for-profit ownership in March 1997.
Houston-based hospital chain HealthPlus Corp. co-owned Normandy Community through a joint venture with 16 physicians.
Hospital Administrator Thomas Walther said the hospital has been affected "by low service volumes and shrinking reimbursements."
Licensed for 80 beds, the hospital staffed for 40 and typically served 20 patients per day, Walther said. Since its reopening it has never broken even.
The hospital laid off its 250 employees, who are expected to find positions at other area hospitals, according to an executive at a nearby hospital. The number of unfilled healthcare positions in St. Louis is high.
Since opening in 1948, the hospital has been known by various names: Normandy Osteopathic Hospital, Metropolitan Medical Center and Deaconess Medical Center North. Metropolitan's board signed a management contract with Deaconess Health System in 1991.
After Deaconess closed the hospital, the community rallied to find a new owner. A group of osteopathic physicians wanted a teaching hospital in the St. Louis area, and they persuaded investors to finance them. They applied for a state certificate of need to open 130 inpatient beds at a cost of $8 million.
The Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee staff report took a dim view of the venture, recommending denial. The committee granted the CON in January 1995 after whittling the bed count to 80.
According to the CON application, the hospital would have had to hit 70% occupancy to break even.
In 1997, as the hospital reopened, Glen Marshall, HealthPlus' chief operating officer, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "St. Louis is said to be over-bedded. I won't dispute that. But what we're trying to be is a community hospital. We get to know our patients. And our patients get to know us. This is their hospital."