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      Friday
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      Governor's visit brings aid for Keokuk Area Hospital

      A $5 million loan will go a long way at Keokuk Area Hospital

      Iowa Governor Terry Branstad made a stop in Keokuk Friday to re-enact the signing of bill HF-2460.

      This bill is a loan of up to $5 million for Keokuk Area Hospital.

      It's money that Fitch Health Care's Duane Fitch said the hospital desperately needed, and will be put to good use.

      "We're retiring some legacy liabilities, we're investing in some clinical equipment in our Surgical Center of Excellence, and using the money to update some of our information technology platforms," Fitch said.

      Many Keokuk residents packed the area outside the hospital to show support for Gov. Branstad.

      Hospital board member John Clark said the $5 million dollar loan was a matter of survival, and greatly appreciated the dedication the governor showed in the hospital's time of need.

      "I'd just like to say, we really appreciate the involvement of the Governor who grabbed the bull by the horns, who put this project together and now we will be in business for a while," said Clark.

      Clark also said this also couldn't have been done if it wasn't for the community.

      Health Systems Board President Walt Stephens said the hospital is in the process of applying for the loan, but expects the hospital to see the money by the end of July.

      "'I'm so proud of our hospital and the doctors we have here. Again, I encourage anybody and everybody that has concerns or health problems to come see one of our doctors, or come to our hospital, we will take good care of you," Stephens said.

      Officials said the hospital's recent struggles were linked to a lack of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.