24-Hour healthcare established in Fulton County

Fulton-Hickman County leaders announced they now own the last standing clinic in Hickman. They secured ownership from Community Health Systems, the same group that closed Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton in March.

County leaders say establishing local health care was their priority because the closest hospital was 20 minutes away in Tennessee, but people who had to stay in Kentucky had to travel to Mayfield 45 minutes away. Now, the Fulton-Hickman area will have 24-hour health care.

County leaders say they knew they needed to use their biggest asset in town: the detention center. So the county entered an agreement with Jackson Purchase Medical Center to help run an overnight infirmary for the public inside the detention center. The county, as the property owner, will lease both the overnight infirmary and the clinic to Jackson Purchase. It's a move county leaders say will save the area.

During the day people can still go to the clinic, but county leaders say at night it's a matter of crossing the street to the newly-built, public jail infirmary. Jailer Ricky Parnell says inmates will help build the new facility.

Parnell says 24-hour health care enhances not only the town and surrounding areas, but neighborhood health for the future.

"Many towns shut down and don't have the benefit of getting together and working together," Parnell says.

With the new system, County Judge Executive Jim Martin says it also ensures the area against any more closures.

"If we own the real estate, we still have something if they close," says Martin.

County leaders say they'll begin the transition around mid-October. The clinic and infirmary will also have direct communication with the emergency room in Mayfield, so the clinics will act as a triage center and determine if you need to be rushed to the emergency room.

The inmate treatment infirmary and the citizen treatment area will be completely separate.

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