TJ Samson purchases Westlake Regional Hospital

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COLUMBIA, Ky. (WBKO) - A hospital in Adair County has a new owner and a new name.

Westlake Regional Hospital will now be known as TJ Health Columbia.

"Small community hospitals aren't going to survive on their own. They've got to consolidate with another large facility to make it," said TJ Regional Health CEO Bud Wethington. "The technology continues to increase and the price tag continues to go up by day."

In 2013, Westlake Regional Hospital declared bankruptcy but with the purchase by TJ last week,the uncertain future of health care in the county has cleared up.

"Even in it's distress of bankruptcy. We went forward and carried on. There was never a time in my mind where I thought this hospital would close," commented Adair County Judge/Executive Michael Lee Stephens.

But what about the future of health care jobs in Adair County?

The 73 bed hospital's staff has been cut from 115 employees to just above 70. TJ Samson said all of the remaining employees after the downsize have been offered jobs in Glasgow.

"Directors from TJ [Samson] came here and sat down to interview everyone that was working here who wanted to have a job going forward. Some chose not to. Some employees don't want to make the drive. If they were offered a job in Glasgow they don't want to make the drive to Glasgow," said Wethington.

The buy means new services at the hospital but expansion will depend on community reaction.

"If the community embraces the new day health care, which is what this is, it's a new day, we would love to expand. The community's got to embrace it and come back because they lost faith," added Wethington.

TJ Samson says the facility in Columbia will see some changes but right now it's too early in the planning stages with architects to know what they'll be exactly.

With the purchase of Westlake, TJ Regional Health will also take over the hospital's clinics, which means the company will own two clinics in Edmonton that will consolidate.

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