Memorial Hospital of Texas County finances raise controversy - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Memorial Hospital of Texas County finances raise controversy

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After finding itself in a major financial bind, Memorial Hospital of Texas County is now facing a number of questions, including, 'could it be forced to close'?

The hospital board recently fired its CEO after discovering new and troubling financial information they felt was kept from them, information that's put them in the hole as well as at odds with one group of local doctors.

"In the last three to five months, we've been hit with things that have been totally unforeseen," said John Nye, Chairman of the Memorial Hospital of Texas County.

"I received some complaints that there were some violations by the hospital board of the Oklahoma open meetings act," added James M. Boring, District Attorney for Texas County.

It wasn't long after this discovery of debt and allegations of fraud that the CEO of Memorial Hospital was fired, prompting an investigation by the state and leaving a gaping wound in the hospital's budget.

"That's affected our bottom line by about $1.2 to $1.6 million," said Nye.

'That's generated the hospital needing to come to the county commissioners to give funding," continued Boring. "Make payroll and pay some bills."

Nothing short of a financial crisis that some are worried will force the hospital to close. But not everyone feels this picture is being painted accurately.

"Some board members openly admitted to the public that the hospital is broke," explained Dr. Martin Bautista, a local doctor of Speciality Clinic of St. Anne. "But we want to assure the public that the physicians are not of the same idea that the hospital is going to go down."

Dr. Bautista is also one of several doctors who make up Panhandle Radiology, a independent group of doctors some critics claim are keeping more patients in their clinics, than the hospital.

"I would say a significant portion if not all of the issues at the hospital right now involved matters relating to the physicians or some of the physicians and their usage, or lack of usage of the hospital," explained Boring.

"If we knowingly boycott the hospital and not give our patients the best care they deserve," debated Dr. Bautista, "patients will know and they won't come back to you."

Allegations that have left the doctors, in Dr. Bautista's eyes, with only one option.

"Allow us to take over the hospital, allow us to lease it," he said. "In other words, allow us to put our money where our mouths are."