Outside company takes over Putnam County hospital operations

Putnam County Hospital (Photo: KTVO)

After nearly a year of rumors, layoffs and sometimes scandal, Putnam County Memorial Hospital has hired an outside company to get the facility back on its feet.

Board President Howard Luscan told KTVO over the phone Tuesday that the beleaguered hospital has reached an agreement with Hospital Partners, Inc., for the company to take over day-to-day operations. New CEO David Byrns started work in Unionville Tuesday.

In addition to the management agreement that begins immediately, Hospital Partners will sign a lease agreement pending legal approval. The building itself will not be included as part of the deal, and will remain in the hands of county taxpayers.

Luscan said the move was made to keep the hospital’s doors open and off the roller coaster of uncertainty it’s ridden since husband-and-wife team Cindy and Jerry Cummings abruptly resigned last December. It was the first of several in a string of staff exoduses and firings as tight-lipped hospital officials started sorting through the financials left behind. The deal with Hospital Partners aims to change that.

“We’re very excited that our community will keep its hospital,” Luscan said of the agreement. “We can all breathe a little easier I think.”

The Putnam County situation is nothing new to Byrns, who with partner Jorge Perez, leads hospital management companies like Hospital Partners to financially endangered facilities across the country, then brings them back into the black.

Byrns did not respond to an interview request Tuesday.

*The original version of this story incorrectly listed Byrns's partner's name as James Stanger.

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