By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON January 28, 2003 Grover Hermann Hospital is back in the black.
Four years after officials in Harris talked about closing down the Callicoon division of Catskill Regional Medical Center, the facility turned a profit the first in 25 years.
According to hospital officials, Grover Hermann raked in approximately $390,000 this year in pure profit. The month of December was a loss, but that was expected already in the budget.
The hospital, built by the people of the Callicoon community with help from local benefactor Grover Hermann, has long been the main medical center for folks on the western side of Sullivan County.
Those who cant make a trip to Harris could head over to Route 97 for immediate emergency care. But four years ago, the hospital was losing so much money, the main division thought about closing up shop.
It wasnt until the community turned out in full force to protest the closure that word came that Grover Hermann would remain open.
We just banded together, and everyone just knew it was a needed facility, said Mary Cade, longtime president of the Grover Hermann Hospital Auxiliary and a charter member of the original board. They realized most of the people wouldnt travel to Harris for care.
One of the first meetings about the hospitals fate, held at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon (in the hall also named for Hermann), brought out so many people that many visitors lined the sidewalks and peered in the back door.
Donations poured in from area businesses and community members. And the auxiliary, in concert with the hospital, worked to make improvements that would bring more patients into the facility.
In the last few years, there have been modernization projects completed on the lab, emergency room, and the physical therapy and x-ray departments. Emergency room hours have been extended to ensure the people of the area always have a place to turn.
And the Lunch and Learn series at the Grover Hermann division this past year has drawn in more and more interest in the hospital.
According to Catskill Regional CEO Art Brien, the fears of closing are in the distant past.
Any thought . . . is ancient history, he said. Grover Hermann has a green light.
We had a good year, and weve been doing a lot of things to restructure things over there, he added. A lot of work has been done to attract more patients.
Its a great hospital.