EmpowerHMS announces plans for Fulton Medical Center

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FULTON - Tuesday, Callaway County Commissioners announced the change of ownership for the Fulton Medical Center to a rural hospital provider. 

EmpowerHMS, a for-profit company, specializes in rural or critical access hospitals. FMC officials announced last Friday owners were selling FMC to EmpowerHMS, a week before the center was scheduled to close Sept. 22. 

CEO of EmpowerHMS, Jorge Perez, said the company provides accounting services, human resources and any other services the hospital needs that are nonclinical. 

"I firmly believe that a hospital should only be worried about taking care of patients and patient safety," Perez said. 

"As a company we have made it our mission to go all over the country and work to save rural hospitals," Vice President of EmpowerHMS, J.T. Lander said. 

EmpowerHMS owns about 20 hospitals all around the U.S. including the I-70 Hospital in Sweet Springs.

FMC is the only hospital in Callaway County.  

Lander said the company has never closed down one of its hospitals and will not lay off any of the employees at FMC. 

Perez promoted chief nursing officer of FMC, Isabel Schmedemann to become the new CEO of the center. 

"I am so excited," Schmedemann said. "I am very proud and very happy to be leading our team down this hopefully successful path." 

Schmedemann said it has about 120 people on the payroll now for the medical center compared to the 153 FMC had before. 

The 37 beds FMC has available will remain open for patient care. 

Perez said he plans to integrate his company into the community to learn what needs to be improved with the medical center. 

"We [EmpowerHMS] are going to put in a group from the community to help us understand what the needs are," Perez said. 

Perez said he wants the medical center to grow and continue to serve Callaway County for years to come.