Another Missouri hospital is closing. Ripley County Memorial Hospital in southeast Missouri’s Doniphan will cease operations Monday. It’ll be the fifth hospital to close in the state since 2010.
Shauna Hoffman is Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for SoutheastHEALTH which has operated the hospital. She says the facility sees an average of two patients per day, which makes the financial burden of keeping the 24-hour operation open unsustainable.
“If you can imagine the heavy amount of infrastructure of staffing and resources that it takes to keep a hospital that size open for essentially just two patients,” said Hoffman. “So that’s an ongoing concern that we have had, and we’ve been evaluating for some time.”
KFVS-TV reports the hospital will provide outpatient services until a new operator, Missouri Highlands Health Center, takes over on December 1.
Missouri Highlands plans to convert the Emergency Department to an Urgent Care Clinic that’ll provide service from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The non-profit organization currently operates a group of clinics in southeast Missouri that are open during the daytime Monday-Friday. The Missouri State Department of Health and Senior Services has been involved in the transition.
KFVS reports Missouri Highlands plans to add a fulltime dental clinic as well as behavioral health and substance abuse treatment programs. Local caregiver Tasha Parker told KFVS that the community needs emergency care.
“You have kids, they fall down at school and get hurt, they need to go to the emergency room,” said Parker. “If somebody cuts a finger off, there’s a lot of sawmills around here. They may not have time before they bleed out to make it to Poplar Bluff hospital.”
Poplar Bluff is 39 miles east of Doniphan.
At least 87 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ripley County Memorial Hospital is the second facility closed by SoutheastHEALTH in Missouri. It also shuttered Southeast Health Center of Reynolds County in Ellington in 2016. The other three Show-Me State hospitals to close since 2010 are Parkland Health Center’s Weber Road location in Farmington, also in 2016, Sac-Osage Hospital in Osceola (2014) and Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett, which shut down in May of this year.
(Missourinet media partner KFVS-TV contributed to this report)