West Memphis hospital seeks financial help - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

West Memphis hospital seeks financial help

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (FOX13) -

Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis says it's running out of options, but it is committed to trying to find a financial solution. The hospital is asking county leaders to approve a one-cent sales tax generating around $30 million for the hospital over five years.

As the largest hospital in West Memphis, there is often not a lot of movement at Crittenden Regional. A 100-bed facility, but many of the rooms are vacant.

"We are about $200,000 behind each month and we feel we have reduced expenses to the point that that's not a productive strategy," says in West Memphis says it's running out of options, but it is CEO Gene Cashman.

Cashman said the hospital has been in the red for years for several reasons including writing off $20 million over the last few years, doctors retiring or relocating, limited access to borrowing money and a high influx of low income patients.

"We have seen reimbursements cut to our Medicare and Medicaid program and so many of our patients and community are dependent on Medicare and Medicaid, upwards of 80-percent," Cashman said.

Coming up short financially every month, the hospital needs the community to stand up and support the same organization which cares for them.

Here is the plan. To ask voters to approve a 1-percent sales tax increase that would generate about $30 million. The money would be used to help keep this hospital running, recruit more physicians and specialists, but also to help renovate the emergency room.

"We're not looking to compete with Memphis; we're looking to provide services at a small community hospital for this county," Cashman said.

Crittenden Regional has been serving this community since 1951 and is hoping by partnering with those it serves will not be a band-aid solution, but one which is permanent.

"If it continues without some sort of intervention, it will probably be faced with a decision of whether we can stay open," says Cashman.

Hospital administrators and board members are expected to meet with county officials within the next couple of weeks, to draft possible legislation to present to the quorum court. We will keep you posted. Stay with FOX13 for updates.

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