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Lawrence Memorial Health president speaks on Imboden Clinic closure

Lack of patients, financial strain cited as reasons for closing
Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Region 8 News first reported that the Imboden Rural Health Clinic closed permanently last week.

Josh Conlee, President of Lawrence Memorial Health, says the decision to close the clinic was a difficult but necessary.

“[The clinic is] not like many of the other facilities in our area,” Conlee said. “We saw volumes drop because of the lack of patients coming in as well as financial stress there.”

The clinic temporarily closed a few weeks ago and shifted the staff to Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Walnut Ridge.

As the effects of COVID-19 continued, the decision was made to close the location permanently.

Even though the clinic closed, the doctors and staff who worked in Imboden will continue to work at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Conlee says the quality of care hasn’t changed, even though the physical location has changed.

“Individuals and patients can still come to our facility and still receive the high-quality care they’ve come to know and love and enjoyed from our providers,” Conlee said. “It’s just at a different location.”

Chief Nursing Officer Rosalind Casillas has worked with Lawrence Health for 13 years and has lived in Imboden for most of her life.

Her immediate family all went to the clinic.

She said she had to have some tough conversations with her 82-year-old father about what’s next.

Her father would visit the clinic first and then make the 20-minute drive to Walnut Ridge for procedures like CT Scans or X-Rays.

Casillas mentioned that the move could be more convenient for him.

“He asked me ‘well, what am I going to do now,’” Casillas said. “I’ve kind of told him you’ll be able to have all that done at one time now, you won’t have to go to the clinic and have to drive to the hospital, you can have that all done within that short period of time.”

Though potential patients will have to travel a bit further to receive care, Casillas feels it’s a good decision for the hospital and that over time, the hospital will be more beneficial to the area than the outreach clinic.

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