Workers at Sac-Osage Hospital tell KOLR10 News the Board of Directors there met last week to discuss ways to affiliate themselves with other health organizations due to "major" financial concerns. They say without the affiliation, they believe providing health care in the Osceola community would be impossible.
"We simply have come to believe the survival of this hospital is no longer feasible," says Brandon Baker, who is on the Board of Directors for Sac-Osage Hospital. "We voted as a board to enter into a letter of intent with CMH in Bolivar to basically cooperative affiliate with them regarding them coming to town and bringing their health care services with them."
As part of the agreement, Sac-Osage Hospital would shut down in-patient care and ER services.
"Removing those services from this community has been a very very hard thing to do," says Baker.
Citizens Memorial Hospital will however have a walk-in clinic seven days a week in Osceola and will offer an out-patient services lab for things like X-rays. Rehab services and ambulance services will continue to be provided there as well and a pharmacy will remain.
"I was very shocked and saddened when I heard the board wanted to close the hospital," says Independent Physician Dr. Wayne Morton.
Dr. Morton has been in family practice in Osceola for 39 years.
"It would be devastating for the community-- I mean health care wise and financially," says Dr. Morton. "So much of the community depends upon the hospital."
Citizens Memorial Hospital staff say they're ready to expand.
"We are set up to accommodate more patients," says Citizens Memorial Hospital Marketing Director Tamera Heitz-Peek. "We have a service area that includes St. Clair County already and a wide variety of specialty services here."
Something Sac-Osage Hospital feels is a necessity in order to keep health care alive in Osceola.
"We'd rather have something be here than nothing be here," says Baker. "And we believe that by affiliating with CMH in Bolivar, that is our way to continue to provide services to the community."
There are currently around 60 employees at Sac-Osage Hospital. We're told those employees will have "the right to continue to work" but will have to re-apply and go through the application process to find a similar position within the Bolivar Citizens Memorial Hospital System.
There will be a public meeting to learn more about the affiliation at First Baptist Church in Osceola Tuesday, July 29 at 5:30 p.m.
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