Pocahontas Moving Forward With Randolph County Medical Center

POCAHONTAS, AR--Randolph County will get to keep it's hospital open, but Paragould's Arkansas Methodist Hospital won't be managing it for them.

In June, Pocahontas voters approved a tax increase to buy the hospital in order to keep it open.

The city of Pocahontas it closer than ever to running their newest business...a hospital.

"It could be two weeks give or take a couple days on either side of what it is right now. So, we haven't lost much momentum or time," said Pocahontas Mayor Gary Crocker.

Crocker says the city is moving forward with their plans to own the hospital after selecting Allegiance Health Management to run the hospital side of the business.

"You have to have someone are professional health care people. I don't think any governmental body has the expertise and ability to take care of health care," said Crocker.

Before the city of Pocahontas could purchase the Randolph County Medical Center, they first had to have a management group in place. After four months of discussions, it appeared it would be Arkansas Methodist, but Methodist said they need another two weeks for final financial analysis. The city of Pocahontas felt that might not be enough time to save their hospital.

"We were kind of anxious. We felt we had some good ideas, but we understand their situation," said Arkansas Methodist Medical Center President Ron Rooney.

Rooney says the area can't afford to lose another local hospital because of the economic impact it would have on the region. That's why Methodist put in hundreds of hours of work to help Pocahontas keep there hospital.

"We never asked for or do we intend to ask for any kind of compensation for our services and they are still available to that community as far as that goes," said Rooney.

Methodist is a non-profit hospital, but did add they might look to help another hospital with management down the road.

Mayor Crocker says representatives from Allegiance Healthcare Management will be in town on Tuesday to start their work on evaluating different aspects of the hospital.