Two doctors and one nurse practitioner who previously served at Pinnacle Regional Hospital before its closure in January recently transitioned to a University of Missouri Health Care clinic in Fayette.
Family medicine doctors Mona L. Brownfield, Robert H. Koch and family nurse practitioner Lori Weekley started with MU Health Care in mid-February.
The Fayette clinic is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Firday, at 308 S. Church St. The three are serving in Fayette in the interim while the Boonville clinic gets established.
MU Health Care announced its plans in February to open a Boonville clinic. The future family medicine clinic location is 102 Isle of Capri Blvd.
The Fayette clinic is accepting in-person and virtual care appoints. Individuals can schedule an appointment by calling 660-882-3585.
"With the closure of the Pinnacle Regional Hospital, MU Health Care did not hesitate to ask how we might help to serve the health care needs of the Boonville community," Michael LeFevre, interim chair of MU School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community, said.
MU is actively using video visits to ensure the safety of patients and practitioners, he added.
Pinnacle Regional in December had to cease surgery services at the hospital due to its sterilization room not maintaining the right pressure, temperature and humidity. Mechanical systems at the hospital, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning were out of date an inefficient. Costs associated with improving HVAC were insurmountable.
The hospital then ceased laboratory services a few weeks after ending surgeries. Hospital CEO Joe Conigliaro requested a 90-day suspension of the hospital’s license in mid-January.
Pinnacle said that HVAC issues with its sterilization room did not cause any patient infections. Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said in February that he was outraged at the way Pinnacle was treating its employees and that it was not sterilizing surgical tools.
Democrat Lindsey Simmons laid the blame for the hospital closure at Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s. Simmons is campaigning for Hartzler’s congressional seat. Hartzler’s refusal to support Medicare expansion, other policies that support rural hospitals and repeated votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act is the issue, she said.
Pinnacle Regional plans to reopen the hospital in Boonville after it completes Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The company has estimated liabilities between $10- and $50 million and an estimated 200 to 999 creditors, court documents state. The filing will allow the company to reorganize its finances and pay its creditors over time.
Two lawsuits were filed against Pinnacle after the closure, including a class-action lawsuit filed by former Pinnacle employees alleging the company wrongfully retained employee funds that had been marked for health insurance premium payments.
Brendan Crowley of Boonville Daily News, Erik Cliburn of Moberly Monitor-Index and Rudi Keller of Columbia Daily Tribune contributed to this report.