MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -Since the 1950's Mississippi County has had 2 hospitals, one in Blytheville and one in Osceola.
Over the past several years both have struggled economically.
Now both hospitals are under county control once again with the aid of a management company.
How are they doing in these tough times?
The good news is the doors are still open and there is medical care available in both the Blytheville and Osceola facilities.
Management admits that times are hard but they do have a plan.
Sitting down with Jim Richardson, CEO of the Mississippi County Hospital Systems, I asked him in these tough times, can a hospital make money.?
"The answer is yes but it's extremely difficult in the rural environment right now."
QHR operates both hospitals under a county board of governors.
Richardson says hard times affect all hospitals big or small.
"The recent downturn in the economy has probably helped no one in the hospital business."
Mississippi county has a 4/10 of a mill property tax for the hospitals. Sort of a emergency fund. A good portion of that money has already been used and now general funds must be used.
Mississippi County Judge Steve McGuire, "We are all having to utilize funds that we would normally use for other services so we are just having to tighten our belt tighter in every respect."
Richardson admits there is a lack of income which is due to lack of patients which is due to the lack of doctors but a recruiting plan is in the works.
"We are looking for, 5 family docs, 3 internists, 2 general surgeons, an orthopaedic surgeon, psychiatrist. And we may add an OB-GYN specialist to that list."
For the future, more planning is now underway.
Richardson, "In a 90 to 100 day period we intend to develop a strategic plan to present back to the board."
The board will then present that information to the Quorum Court.
Both Richardson and Judge McGuire want the residents of Mississippi county to know that they are committed to good health care for the residents.
McGuire, "Cause this is a service we think is so drastically needed to each individual having available to them in the county."