Crittenden Regional Hospital to close next month

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- After financial losses, fire and a special tax passed to support it, Crittenden Regional Hospital is closing.

The hospital is no longer admitting people, and will close September 7.

We are told clinics located within the hospital are looking for alternatives.

In a statement, CEO Gene Cashman said, "With counsel from national health care consulting firms and the passage of a county-wide sales tax, we had identified a long-term strategic plan that had set our organization on a path to improvement. This summer’s fire and the subsequent shut-down derailed that plan’s success.”

WHAT ARE THE FACTS? | "Our situation is simply not sustainable"

The hospital reopened recently after extensive repairs were done following a fire in June.

At last report, the hospital was $23 million in debt.

Recently, Crittenden voters approved a one-percent tax to raise about $6 million a year over five years to fund the hospital.

That tax has not been and will not be implemented.

Brenda Wilkins, who lives in West Memphis, found out about the closure on Monday.

"It would be really bad on a situation because we don't have any hospitals around this area that's close enough," Wilkins said.

"We're not taking new patients, and those patients that we currently have will be transferred appropriately to other facilities," Cashman told WREG.

More than 400 employees will lose their jobs and be forced to work elsewhere.

"It's a hard day. I mean it's a heartbreaking day and my heart goes out to every single one of our employees," Cashman said.

According to Cashman, there were 2,285 rural hospitals in 1992 and there are currently about 1,953.

WHAT WERE EMPLOYEES TOLD? | Crittenden Hospital Closure

The following is an internal memo to hospital staff:

Employees of CRH,

For nearly five years, the Board of Trustees and leadership for Crittenden Regional Hospital have been exploring avenues for a solution to the hospital’s financial challenges. Those challenges are well known in our community. More recently, the Board has been meeting in order to consider the remaining viable options for the future of the hospital. Until last night, we did not have a decision on that future.

Because of insurmountable obstacles, we have made the difficult decision to halt all operations at Crittenden Regional Hospital, and permanently close our doors. Even with funds from the sales tax scheduled to take effect later this year, our situation is simply not sustainable as a business.

Despite our best efforts, the combination of challenges we’re facing – a changing healthcare industry, a recovering economy and one of the toughest reimbursement climates in the nation – continues to place mounting financial pressures upon our organization. With counsel from national healthcare consulting
firms, we had identified a long-term strategic plan that had set our organization on a path to improvement. This summer’s fire, and the subsequent shutdown, derailed that plan’s success. It was a devastating blow at a time when we could least afford it. The sales tax campaign was a tremendous testament to the community’s support, but unfortunately, funding from the tax increase would not reach our hospital until December 23, well beyond the date our resources can sustain us.

As of today, we will stop admitting patients at Crittenden Regional Hospital. We will close our doors permanently on September 7, 2014. CRH clinics and home health services will close September 5. In the interim, we will continue serving patients who are already admitted to our hospital, or through home health, to ensure they continue to receive the highest quality care and treatment until they are discharged. If patients require inpatient care past September 7, we will work with them and their families to arrange for the continuation of care at another healthcare facility or agency.

We recognize that the individuals most impacted by this announcement are all of you and your families. CRH is home to many dedicated, talented employees and physicians, who have served patients and their families here in Crittenden County for the past 60 years. We will make every effort to help you with this significant transition. Our efforts will include: face-to-face meetings with you to provide details on the hospital’s transition and to answer your questions; helping you prepare for an employment search, such as interview counseling and resume workshops; and hosting a job fair on the CRH campus. We are already engaging with Methodist, as well as other healthcare entities in surrounding communities, regarding job opportunities.

We are committed to being transparent in this process, both with you and with the West Memphis community. As we have more information to share, we will. In the meantime, your manager will be meeting with you individually or in small groups to discuss the details of the transition, next steps, your future plans, and the ways in which CRH can assist you. Thank you for your dedication and support to our hospital during the most difficult of times.

Eugene K. Cashman, CEO


    • Ashley

      Yep. No one can afford to go to the hospital anymore. I don’t even have insurance and can’t afford it. “Affordable Care Act” my butt.

      • donaknowsitall

        It’s a law, you have to have some kind of medical insurance. There are hundreds of plans out there to support any range of income.
        You will end up paying a fine when you file taxes this year.

    • renee

      Has nothing to do with Obama care CRH has been in debt for years…it’s just now coming out..The get millions of dollars a year from the Casino and Community College someone hasn’t been using these funds properly.

    • Darwin Evolved

      The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had absolutely nothing to do with this. Crittenden has operated with a heavy load of underinsured and uninsured patients from all over the delta- not just Crittenden County. Because of it’s proximity top memphis the hospital had many specialized areas covered- unfortunately the patients tended to be poor, non-compliant and presented for care after things were dire. Add to that the declining tax base in the county.

      On top of that the Hospital operated in an old and outdated facility that was expensive to maintain and operate- unable to afford a replacement.

      What sunk the hospital was the same thing that drove LeBonheur into the arms of Methodist- uncompensated care. If memory serves, LeBonheur was 70 million in the hole when Methodist took over. Funny you should blame the ACA, if America had been enacted universal coverage years ago this might not have happened.

      • Phil

        You are truly in denial, if you think that ObamaCare and it’s implementation, had nothing to do with this closing. The CEO of the hospital even mentioned LENGTHY, government reimbursement rates as part of the problems. Keep drinking the Kool-aide and waiting on that “Hopey/Changey” thing. “There is none so blind as he who will not see”

      • Darwin Evolved

        I am a former employee of the hospital ,still work in healthcare and know that what you state is patently untrue.

        The hospital was in debt precisely because of a large population of uninsured and underinsured people. Had a universal coverage scheme been enacted earlier, the hospital might well be in better shape.

        The ACA is the product of a broken political system and was hatched (the mandate component) in the Republican Heritage Foundation as a response to the Clinton Era HillaryCare proposal for the 1996 election cycle. Those marking up the bill actively sought Republican participation and were met with extreme intransigence.

  • justlittl3m3

    It is a pity these good people will not have a hospital to go to in their area! What is going on in our world? We build and support our luxurious play areas but we can Not keep a local Hospital running? Shame on us…

    • donaknowsitall

      It wasn’t just the fire, it was many things. read the full article.
      When people don’t have medical insurance and go to the ER or are admitted to the hospital for care then cannot pay the bill, the hospital doesn’t get anything. How can anything stay in business when customers do not pay? A hospital IS a business you know, it’s not free contrary to what lots of people may think.

  • poolgirl2

    Yep, more drain on Shelby County taxpayers as they continue to cross the river to Region One (The Med), along with others from outside Shelby County, TN. Keep ER in West Memphis!

    • Darwin Evolved

      I live in Crittenden county and bring business to Memphis area hospitals for some of my care. I pay significant taxes in Tennessee, Shelby County and Memphis despite not living there. I buy clothes, cars, furniture, and other stuff in Memphis. I go out in Memphis, go to restaurants in Memphis, go to Doctors in Memphis, Bank in Memphis and on and on.
      So much for being a drain on your tax base. I probably spend more money in Memphis than many of the city’s citizens and use no city services.

  • new slave

    Well well well white folks can’t manage. Fix the horse pitiful and still closeu Lol du and stilldumber. Affordable care act is the GOP sayingp your way no more free ride. You pay for your own health care. My Bad must be the democrates.

    • imagoooodcracker

      Trin to pay fo all dem sick non payin black folk u go in da hole fast must be all dem democrats falt

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