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ECH makes Smith House purchase official

The Smith House Health Care Center has officially been purchased by Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

The Smith House Health Care Center has officially been purchased by Elizabethtown Community Hospital. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

— On Oct. 31, the Smith House health center at 39 Farrell Road in Willsboro was officially made part of the Elizabethtown Community Hospital family.

That was the day that the two organizations closed on the sale of the Smith House to ECH, although the two sides had been working together for the past two years.

“The main thing is that ECH now moves from consulting to ownership,” Smith House Board Chairman Nick Muller said. “We developed a contract in the fall of 2010 and gradually, ECH had started to manage our operations. Smith House was increasingly being run more professionally than it had been, and there has not been a hiccup in the delivery of medical services.

“We had provided medical oversight for the Smith House and it worked out well,” ECH CEO Rod Boula said. “It helped get us to the point where we were at in 2010 and their board asked us to proceed with this.”

The transaction was a purchase of assets, including the Smith House building, equipment and assets associated with it, as well as the former physical therapy building located in Essex. Boula said that the board is currently looking at options for the building, that could include selling it.

“We do not see a use for it as of yet,” Boula said.

The Smith House Health Center now joins the ECH health centers in Elizabethtown, Wilmington and Westport, offering four community-based clinics in Essex County. Boula said there were no current plans for expanding that reach.

“We have a strategic plan that we have in place,” Boula said. “If we have a community that comes forward and asks us to look at this, we would certainly do that.”

Muller said that the sale of the Smith House was vital in order for the facility to remain in business.

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