Horton Community

Hospital is a closed chapter for its namesake small town in southern Brown County, but after a year of uncertainty, a new one has begun.

Atchison Hospital

purchased the land, buildings and associated assets of the hospital, as part of a nationwide process conducted in the federal Eastern District of North Carolina Bankruptcy Court in Raleigh. Following an auction, the Horton sale has been approved at a price of $245,000.

Atchison Hospital took the first steps toward detailing what it intends to do with its purchase earlier this month. As the hospital put it in a

Jan. 17 news release, a major hurdle has been cleared in returning health care services to Horton.

“The Horton faicilities have been closed and unable to provide health care services since March, despite valiant efforts of staff, providers and city leaders,” the hospital said in its announcement. “Atchison Hospital employees themselves have felt the difficulty of losing health care options in Horton, as many have relatives and friends who live there.”

Horton City Administrator John Calhoon he remains in a “wait and see” position with regard to what the sale to Atchison Hospital means for that community.

“I do believe that Atchison Hospital is working to get us re-opened,” Calhoon said. “I know they have put out ads for employment. I have been in conversations with CEO Jeff Perry, and we continue to converse and make sure that we will have no complications or anything happen that would be detrimental to getting things going.”

Calhoon said his top goals are to restore a primary clinic so that residents can regain access to personal and family phyiscians without having to leave town.

If a clinic proves to be

successful and receives enough patrons from the

community and the surrounding area, Calhoon said, expansion to full radiology and lab

services would be the next step. In due time, some form of round-the-clock urgent care clinic could be established under Atchison Hospital’s

umbrella, he added.

“I think this will meet the community’s needs very well,” Calhoon said. “I don’t think we will be able to get a critical access hospital back, but we’ll just have to see.”

Atchison Hospital has not yet named a possible opening date for the new clnic, though it has said it will do so in the “near future.” In the meantime, Kex RX will continue to provide pharmacy services to Horton.

The organizational structure of how radiology, lab and

specialty clinic services will be offered to Horton residents on an outpatient basis will be defined in the coming months, according to the hospital.

“Our employees made it very clear that we need to support Horton and the surrounding communities,” Perry said. “We’re honored to serve the Horton community with local health care, as we’ll bring back local jobs to the area.”

Marcus Clem can be reached via marcus.clem@atchisonglobenow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @AdAstraGorilla.

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