An Oklahoma town doesn’t know what to do for medical care now that its hospital laid off most of its staff Wednesday.
The news came as a surprise to employees. The emergency room is the only part of the Haskell County Community Hospital still open.
All the patients were transferred, and most of the staff are wondering how they’ll move on. The people who work at Haskell County Community Hospital say their job is more than that.
For most, it’s a family that serves people they grew up with.
”It was a surprise to everyone,” said Emergency Medicine Physician Associate Keith Plummer.
Plummer has been serving the community for eight years. On Wednesday, he and all but a few employees were laid off.
”The plan is to keep the ER open so the Medicare license stays active, and hopefully they find a buyer,” Plummer said.
The hospital filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Cohesive Healthcare is managing the hospital for a North Carolina bankruptcy trustee.
Despite pouring more than $1 million into the facility, Cohesive owner Godwin Feh says the company has to close most of the hospital to control expenses while it goes through bankruptcy.
”I ask they remain optimistic because, through this process, the hospital will come back stronger than ever,” Feh said.
Interim CEO Andrea Randall says the patients were transferred to other hospitals. She said for many it’s a burden since the closest facilities are an hour away.
“For patients that are sometimes elderly that travel to that area for services, it’s not only a financial but a physical burden,” said Randall.
Plummer said he and many others are now searching for jobs, and a way to move forward.
“It’s hard. There’s a lot of tears,” he said. “Rural medicine and rural hospitals are more family than jobs.”
Again, the emergency room is still open for the hospital to keep its license.
Cohesive’s owner said this could all change and he wants his employees to know the company isn’t giving up on them.