Sweet Springs Ambulance District weighs purchasing closed I-70 Community Hospital

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SWEET SPRINGS- As the I-70 Community Hospital sits dormant on the side of the interstate, the Sweet Springs Ambulance District is bidding to purchase the shuttered hospital.

The ambulance district held a meeting Wednesday night to gauge public support for the plan.

The 15-bed facility about 65 miles east of Kansas City voluntarily closed its doors this past February after state regulators found that it was "out of regulatory compliance."

The hospital is one of seven hospitals set to go up for auction on December 19. 

At least one other group has already submitted a bid for the hospital. Affinity Health Partners submitted a $3.4 million bid to turn the hospital into a medical mall.

The Sweet Springs Ambulance District wants to keep I-70 Community Hospital a hospital, but doing so is not cheap. It will cost a million dollars just to get the hospital back open.

If the ambulance district is successful in purchasing the hospital, board members say they will look to partner with a currently operating hospital to run the facility. 

At the meeting, Sweet Springs Ambulance District Board President Dennis Dohrman said the plan will likely require voters to approve a tax increase in order to be successful. He said it could mean as much as an $8.00 per month tax for residents. 

Because of its location, Bill Koch who is a former leader in the Sweet Springs health community, believes it should stay a hospital.

“It’s really vital for people moving up and down I-70," he said. "If there is a car accident, they get quick service here, they can be stabilized and move on.”