Drumright Hospital Staff Still Uncertain About Future Under Empower HMS
DRUMRIGHT, Oklahoma - Employees at rural hospitals in Northeast Oklahoma are still uncertain about their future under the company Empower HMS.
In mid-December, some employees at hospitals in Fairfax and Prague received their paychecks a week late; now hospital staff say they are having to use their own money to buy supplies to get by.
“The more we look into it, the worse and worse it seems to get,” said Allyson Lunsford.
Allyson Lunsford worked at Drumright Regional Hospital for nearly 13 years and says she left her job a few weeks ago because the uncertainty over the future of the company became too stressful.
“I think because I had been here for so long, many employees felt comfortable coming to me for answers, but I didn’t have any answers,” said Lunsford.
Lunsford says she’s been contacted by several employees this week who have been running low on supplies like copy paper, toilet paper, baby wipes and paper towels. She says that the local fire department donated some toilet paper to help them get through the week.
She also said the hospital is completely out of contrast for CT scans, so if a patient needs a CT, they have to send them to another location.
“These are things that they should have,” said Lunsford. “It should not be a concern on whether or not they are going to be able to perform basic tests or have toilet paper.”
Over at Prague, hospital staff say they are also having to use their own money to buy supplies.
They also say one staff member is spending about $50 a week to buy food for patients at the hospital.
News On 6 reached out to Empower and the spokesperson for the company, Mike Murtha, says all rural hospitals struggle towards the end of the year but believes things will get better for staff.
“All rural hospitals, including Drumright, are under financial stress at the end of the year after turning around and spending a bunch of money,” said Murtha.
Murtha also said he spoke with the CEO of Drumright’s hospital who says they aren’t running low on supplies right now but confirmed there was a donation of toilet paper from the fire department.
Lunsford says despite the financial issues, the quality of care at the hospital hasn’t changed and she hopes people will still come there for care so employees can continue to do the job they love everyday.
“It’s heartbreaking to see this happen,” said Lunsford. “This is a thriving facility, so there’s just no reason that this hospital should be in this situation.”
Drumright Regional Hospital is still open, and there are no plans to close anytime soon.
Hospital staff say the City of Drumright and local Hospital Foundation members have been very supportive throughout the entire process.
They say they are helping them look for a solution to help the hospital move forward.