Osceola Hospital May Have New Life

OCTOBER 13, 2004 - Posted at 11:55 a.m. CDT

OSCEOLA, AR - There may be new life for the Osceola hospital after all.  As K8 News reported last month, the Memphis-based Baptist Healthcare System announced plans to close its hospital in Osceola and consolidate it with its facility in Blytheville, which is located 22 miles north of Osceola.  The planned merger would take place by December 1.

However, Baptist issued a news release this morning announcing a preliminary agreement to transfer the lease of its hospitals in Osceola and Blytheville to Nashville-based Ameris Health.  According to the release, "Baptist was approached by Ameris Health about assuming leases for the two Mississippi County hospitals after Baptist recently announced plans to consolidate the two hospitals into the existing hospital in Blytheville."

"The community leaders preferred to maintain services at both facilities," said David Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Baptist, "and we can appreciate that.  This is an agreement in principal at this point, but Ameris is interested in maintaining both hospitals in Mississippi County as sister hospitals."

Baptist public relations coordinator Kimberly Alexander told K8 News there is no word at this time on when or if the deal will be finalized.