MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Crittenden Regional Hospital closed its emergency room Wednesday night.
The move has Memphis-area hospitals preparing for more patients once the West Memphis hospital shuts down completely.
When Crittenden Regional announced on Monday it was closing, it immediately stopped admitting patients.
The emergency room shut down at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and remaining patients will be transferred to other hospitals by September 7.
Are Memphis hospitals prepared? They think so.
However, the truth is hospitals in Memphis have no idea what to expect now that Crittenden Regional is closing its doors for good.
Hospitals in Memphis know people who live on the other side of the Hernando-Desoto Bridge in West Memphis won’t have a hospital to go to.
Thousands of West Memphians may be forced to travel to the Bluff City for health care.
The change may result in emergency room wait times skyrocketing. The time it takes to schedule appointments may also take longer for patients.
Hospitals, like Regional Medical Center, Delta Medical, and St. Francis, aren’t putting on extra staff or doing much of anything different right now.
“Of course we don’t know how many individuals from that community will need services here and they’ll be spread out around the community. I’m sure at that. And so I don’t think it’s going to impact our service to any great degree,” Bill Patterson, the CEO at Delta Medical Center, said.
St. Francis Hospital started taking patients when Crittenden Regional caught fire and closed for several weeks earlier this year.
Other hospitals in the area will also take patient transfers as the shutdown process plays out.
A spokesperson for Regional Medical Center said the hospital is accepting Arkansas Medicaid to ease the minds of people worried about that being an issue.
As for any problems that lie ahead, hospital leaders in Memphis said they will have to wait and see what happens.
Crittenden Regional hosted a job fair on Wednesday for the more than 400 employees who will soon be out of work.
The six-hour event included representatives from health care agencies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals in the Memphis area.