Updating the Osceola Hospital

OSCEOLA (KAIT) Last week we began to hear that the Osceola hospital may be closing.

This past week has brought more lay-offs. Vital x-ray equipment has also been re-possessed which has caused the emergency room to be closed to ambulances which must now be diverted elsewhere.

Although we have no definitive word whether the hospital will close or remain open... What we do have are doctors who are seriously concerned about their patients and the care they will be able to receive.

Dr. Reggie Cullom, "The computer system with synergy which used to project images on DVD and on screen has been repossess."

A vital piece of X-ray equipment gone from the hospital. This means that ambulances on emergency runs have to be diverted to other hospitals. And routine tests have to divert ambulances for transport services.

Debbie Wilhite, APN, "If they are transferring patients just to Blytheville, just to get a CAT scan then anything that's going on here that's an emergency is going to be put on a back burner until they can get another ambulance here which could cause death."

Dr. Reggie Cullom has been practicing in Osceola for over 30 years he says the hospitals troubles have been around for a while.

"This situation is not new. This situation has gone on we've known since last February. There's just not been the feeling of urgency that there should have been till imminent closure slaps us in the face. "

We were not able to contact any county officials today but hospital CEO Frank Schupp did share a memo with Region 8 , it says in part.

"no more cuts are expected, also we are actively working with several companies as to assuming the management of smc"

The memo however does not say the hospital will either stay open or close.

One of the biggest reactions if the hospital closes would be the kind of care and the limited care doctors like dr.wilhite and Dr. Cullem would be able to give and they would have to transfer their seriously ill patients because there would be no place for them to go close.

Also the town itself could take a serious downturn with no hospital to attract new industry and many doctors would probably have to leave.

I asked if the hospital would be there in a year. Dr. Cullem says the future may be shorter than that.

We do know there have been no patients transferred to other hospitals, the emergency room is closed to ambulances on emergency runs and according to hospital management there are no more lay-offs expected.

We will continue to track this story and keep you updated on the latest details.

Region 8 news has also been asked about the county hospital tax.

We found out today that there is about 2 million in the fund and it can only be used to keep a hospital functioning until a new owner can take over.