DECEMBER 28, 2004 - Posted at 7:19 a.m CST
CHEROKEE VILLAGE, AR - A pair of health care companies are looking into purchasing the closed Eastern Ozarks Regional Health System in Cherokee Village.
The companies, Associated Healthcare Systems of Brentwood, Tennessee, and Extended Health Systems of Hayti, Missouri, have expressed interest in the Sharp County Hospital, which closed earlier this month. The Arkansas Department of Health forced the hospital to shut down citing problems with the pharmacy and usage of medicine.
Since the Cherokee Village hospital closed, emergency room visits to the White River Medical Center 48 miles away in Batesville have risen.
The companies say it is possible to reopen the facility, but Cherokee Village Mayor Ray Maynard is less optimistic about the Eastern Ozarks location. He is on the board of the Sharp Medical Foundation that formed just after the hospital shut down. He said their goal is to build another hospital with 25 critical beds, which the group believes is more practical than reopening the existing facility.