Oklahoma hospital searches for solutions to financial problems - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Oklahoma hospital searches for solutions to financial problems

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One Oklahoma county could soon be left without a hospital if community leaders can't come up with solutions to solve its financial problems.

Memorial Hospital of Texas County board members and Texas County commissioners have been in meeting after meeting trying to come up with possible funding solutions for the hospital. But at this point, it's only a matter of time before its problems begin to trickle down into the community in one way or another.

Support from the county may be running out for Memorial Hospital of Texas County.

"On a yearly basis, by statute, we're required to give them one quarter of a million (dollars), which comes out to about $52,000," said Texas County Commissioner Richard Bryan. "I believe in the past year or so, it's been about $1.7 million that we've had to give to the hospital to continue to function."

Desperation that's forcing board members and the county to consider other funding options.

"We're going to need some time and probably some tax support because we haven't received tax support," said John Nye, board chairman.

"That's one of the things that the board is considering is to put out a sales tax," added Bryan. "To maybe serve as a stop gap until we can make it operational so we can keep the doors open."

Sadly, the option of closing isn't completely off the table, but it isn't going to happen tomorrow either.

"Not in the immediate future," explained Nye. "Now when I say immediate future I'm talking 30 days, no. But we've got to get on top of it now."

Because without relief, what started out as the hospital's problems could soon become the community's.

"It would be devastating to the community," said Bryan. "That's that many employees, that's several hundred employees that are going to be out of a job."

"That would be nothing short of a disaster," added Dr. Martin Bautista, a local doctor for Specialty Clinic of St. Anne. "Because it still provides a good station where patients can seek immediate relief."

Without the hospital's 24 hours a day, seven days a week emergency room, patients needing immediate care would be forced to drive to a hospital in Liberal, Kansas some 40 miles away, or 120 miles to Amarillo.

"The inconvenience to the family members would be huge," said Nye. "It's not something that the board takes lightly."

NewsChannel 10 did speak with a board member Thursday night after another meeting with commissioners. The board member said the number of surgeries were up, patient visits were up, in fact almost all numbers were up at that time, which means good news for the hospital, at least for now.

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