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Boone Health signs NDA with Audrain County, bringing Mexico one step closer to getting new hospital


Audrain County officials and Boone Health signed a non-disclosure agreement at the Audrain Courthouse Rotunda on Friday afternoon.

The agreement allows Boone Health to review the needs of Audrain County to help develop a master plan to get a hospital back in the area that best suits the needs of the community. 

Boone Health President/Chief Executive Officer Brady Dubois told ABC 17 News that the agreement will allow Boone Health to see what the community needs. According to Dubois, the assessment process will take eight-to-12 months, which he claims is an average time for an assessment. 

Dubois said the assessment will include a variety of things such as looking at the need for 24/7 emergency services, annual mammograms, colonoscopies and coming up with designs for a new facility. 

“There’s a lot of proprietary information that, without this, there was hesitation on both sides about how much can you share?” Dubois said when asked about the impact of the NDA agreement. “This helps provide that protection for us to really do a good dive.” 

Mexico lost its hospital in 2022 after the Nobel Health Group announced they were suspending operations in Callaway and Audrain County. ZivaMed also laid off workers and closed Audrain Community Hospital in January. Losing the hospital was a big blow to the community. 

David Reetz -- whoe has lived in Mexico for 31 years -- said that ever since the hospital in town closed in 2022, a new hospital has been something that many members of his church have been praying for. 

“I have a 10-year-old and 13-year-old daughter that was born in that hospital. Of course, that’s kind of nostalgic to us. But when someone is critically ill, I’ve had a lot of people express it's 45 minutes to Columbia and it can make a difference between life and death,” Reetz said. “It would sure be nice to have that emergency room back and the other things that come with the hospital.” 

While there is already an abandoned hospital in Mexico, Boone Health says it is looking to develop a new facility. 

“From my perspective, I have no intention of doing anything with the old hospital," Dubois said. "It’s just not where the future of health care is going to take us. so that’s not what I would like. we're going to be working in partnership to really look at how do we design the future of medicine here in Audrain County."

The new hospital is looking to add 175-200 new staff members, however Dubois told ABC 17 that he already has several people at his hospital who are eager to work in their hometown. Rural health care has been an issue across Missouri. according to the 2021 Health in Rural Missouri report, there are 55 rural counties in Missouri without a hospital.

Noble Health owned a hospital in Fulton that also shuttered. A settlement has been proposed for its former employees in the company's bankruptcy case. A hearing is set for May 9.

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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