VOL. 129 | NO. 165 | Monday, August 25, 2014
Beset by Money Woes, Crittenden Hospital to Close
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (AP) – The Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis stopped admitting patients Monday and will shut down permanently on Sept. 7, despite the recent passage of a sales tax increase intended to help the financially struggling facility.
The hospital announced the closure in a statement Monday, saying a drop in patients and reimbursements prompted the decision, along with a recent fire in the intensive care unit that caused the facility to close for six weeks this summer.
Voters in June had approved a 1 percent sales tax increase that would have generated $30 million over five years for the hospital. Officials said Monday that the tax will not be collected because of the facility's closure.
"We are deeply saddened to have to make this decision after all the attempts that have been made to preserve the hospital for our community," hospital Chief Executive Officer Gene Cashman said. "With counsel from national health care consulting firms and the passage of a county-wide sales tax, we had identified a long-term strategic plan that had set our organization on a path to improvement. This summer's fire, and the subsequent shutdown, derailed that plan's success."
In a statement, the hospital said it had benefited from Arkansas' Medicaid expansion, which uses federal money to buy private health insurance for low-income residents, but said it wasn't enough to keep the hospital afloat.
"The sales tax campaign was a tremendous testament to the community's support for Crittenden Regional and we are thankful for that," Board of Trustees Chairman David Rains said. "Unfortunately, the fire decimated our cash position. We are not able to finance our operations until December when the tax revenues would have been received."
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