Group drums up support for ailing Crittenden Regional - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Group drums up support for ailing Crittenden Regional

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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) - Keeping the doors open. The Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis, Ark., is hoping to get enough community support to pass a one-cent sales tax that would help fill the hospital's $30 million budget gap.

If the hospital doesn't get these funds fast, it could be forced to close, taking more than 400 jobs with it. It would also leave the community with no nearby hospital, the closest one would be about a 30-minute drive to Memphis.  

Supporters of the tax are hoping to get the word out: Keep our hospital open.

MORE: West Memphis hospital faces $30 million debt
MORE: West Memphis hospital seeks financial help


Cissy Phillips has worked at Crittenden Regional Hospital for 40 years. She’s one of more than 400 others that stand to lose their jobs should the hospital be forced to close.

“This is our family,” Phillips said. “I've worked here my entire life, and I can't imagine working anywhere else or this hospital not being here for this community.”

Others worry how the community will survive without a nearby option for healthcare.

“I just think we should have this hospital here in case my baby gets sick, I could take her to the hospital and not worry about having to drive across the bridge,” said West Memphis resident Kristen Acres. “What if something serious happened? You'd have to drive all that way.”

“The majority of our patients are older, and I can't imagine them having to go to Memphis,” Phillips added. “It's just not feasible for this hospital not to be here.”

Hospital officials say the tax could raise about $6 million a year to help fill the budget gap, failure is not an option.

“We're going to pass it so I can't think about the negative, it would have a tremendously negative impact on this region,” State Sen. Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis) said. “This community has always rallied, this community has stood behind this hospital before.”

They’re all hoping this will be reason enough to convince voters to vote yes on the one cent sales tax.

“Vote for us, keep our hospital here,” Phillips said.

Supporters of the tax plan to have phone banks and town halls in the next month to spread the word. A special election to decide on the sales tax will be held June 24.

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