Sharp County's Only Hospital Remains Closed Following Midnight Shutdown

NOVEMBER 30, 2004 - Posted at 5:16 p.m. CST

CHEROKEE VILLAGE, AR - The only hospital in Sharp County has greatly reduced services after the state Health Department found insufficiencies in its laboratory.

On November 8, Eastern Ozark Regional Health Hospital of Cherokee Village received a fax from the Health Department outlining deficiencies that were found in a clinical lab improvement act survey.  Hospital administrators told K8 News that officials of the Health Department inspected the hospital yesterday and found the facility to still be insufficient in two areas.  The hospital closed most services at midnight Monday.

Hospital corporate spokesman Scott Becht said, "Tests that require immediate results currently are not functioning.  Without these results, the emergency room is not able to treat patients.  The certificate hospitals must have in order to perform these lab tests has been suspended due to these insufficiencies."

Currently, administrators say their main goal is to get the lab up and running again so they can re-open all departments.

Hospital personnel are currently working with Sharp County officials to field questions and concerns from the public.  "This is something that's been a concern for some of us for a long time, because we need our hospital very badly," said County Judge Harrold Crawford.  "We're all concerned.  All of us say it's going to be an effort from the doctors, the owner, and all of us individuals who do our jobs to keep this thing open."

Hospital officials aren't sure how long before the hospital is completely re-opened.  Outpatient, home health and hospice services are still available at the hospital, which is owned by Midcare, Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee.