Eastern Ozarks Regional Health System

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City/Town: Cherokee VillageHardy
Location Class: Hospital
Year Built: 1979
Year Abandoned: 2004
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Michael SchwarzEddy SissonJames Kirkendall

Practicing medicine isn’t just a science, it’s an art. The art of taking care of human beings. Sometimes it’s got to be about the patients and not the money.”
Dr Jackson – Eastern Ozark Regional Health System

Located in rural Arkansas between the city of Hardy and Cherokee Village sits the abandoned hospital that has been vacant for nearly 10 years. It was constructed in the year 1979 and was renamed twice in its years of operation. Originally Eastern Ozarks was a very small facility with only a ten bed capacity. With the partnership of the Baptist Memorial Hospital the small facility extended massively on a budget of approximately three million. In the year 1995 Baptist Memorial Eastern Ozarks name was changed to Eastern Ozark Regional Medical Health system as well as a ownership change. Due to several unfortunate reasons such as a bank loan on the property and the insufficient funds to operate a 24 hour emergency room the hospital was forced to shut down in 2004. Arkansas State Commissioner gifted the property to the City of Cherokee Village however the agreement would result in the city of having to pay off the remaining lien. It was suggested that the building face demolition or use it moving the city office/police department as well as many other uses for the property. However the city of Cherokee Village eventually made the decision to return the hospital back to the Arkansas State Commissioner of Land.

CAUTION: Eastern Ozarks Regional Health System has been deemed “unsafe and hazardous.” Permission was granted in order to take photographs. Area is constantly patrolled by law enforcement.

Cherokee Village

Eastern Ozarks hospital closes

Thursday, December 2, 2004 – http://www.areawidenews.com

GEORGE JARED – Staff Writer

Dr. George Jackson was on Emergency Room duty at Eastern Ozarks Regional Health System Nov. 29, as he has been night after night since October, attempting to keep the hospital open.

Unfortunately, it may have been the last time Jackson will man the Eastern Ozarks ER.

“I was hoping we could at least keep it open until Christmas,” a somber Jackson said after it was announced the hospital would close its doors at midnight.

Speculation the hospital was on the verge of closing had run rampant since it closed its ER over Thanksgiving weekend.

“I hoped we would never see this happen to our community,” said Eastern Ozarks Chief of Staff Dr. Surinder Sra.

Eastern Ozarks Director of Nursing Val West said the hospital was forced to close because of problems with the hospital’s lab.

West said the lab closing set off a chain of events that led to the closing of the hospital.

“Without a lab, we can’t have an ER. Without an ER we don’t have a hospital,” West said.

She said all out-patient services including physical therapy and X-ray would still be available.

West said the hospital may re-open later in the week if the problems with the lab are fixed. She said the hospital had approximately 142 employees.

She said no employees have been laid off, but employees are given updated information about their status every 12 hours.

Jackson said the lab was closed because of a “chronic lack of reagents.” He said reagents are used to perform blood tests on patients.

“Over the last several weeks, we have been unable to perform several basic blood tests because of the lack of reagents,” said Jackson.

Dr. Francis Duke, who has been splitting ER shifts on nights and weekends with Jackson, said the reagents are expensive and the hospital wasn’t ordering enough.

Jackson said reagents were outdated and stored improperly.

During the day before the hospital closed, inspectors from the Arkansas Department of Health were present at the hospital.

Health Department Public Information Officer Ed Barham said the department is not permitted by law to divulge information about ongoing inspections.

Barham said any information gleaned from the inspection will be made available to the public 90 days after the investigation is complete.

The three patients at the hospital Monday were transferred to other hospitals before the midnight closing of the lab.

West said while the ER was closed over the weekend at least 59 potential patients were denied service.

Several hours before the hospital closed, Scott Becht, son of Eastern Ozarks owner Bob Becht, said they were working to keep the hospital open.

Bob Becht bought the hospital in 1995.

Becht said the financial pressures of keeping a small rural hospital open are enormous.

Jackson said state law requires that an ER must have a physician on-call 24 hours a day to remain open.

Eastern Ozarks had lost its physician referral contract with Louisiana-based Correct Care.

Correct Care provides ER physicians for rural hospitals in Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama on nights, weekends and holidays.

Correct Care owner Eddie Dease said Eastern Ozarks was significantly behind on its payments and his company terminated service to Eastern Ozarks at the end of October.

“Eastern Ozarks Regional Health owes us a tremendous amount of money,” Dease said. If you combined what I make, you make and half the people in your office make in a year, it still wouldn’t touch what they owe my company.”

After Correct Care terminated its service, staff physicians were on call for the ER during the day, with Jackson and Duke working the ER at night.

Dease said he was asked by a representative from Eastern Ozarks two weeks ago how much the hospital would have to pay to get his company to re-start service.

Dease said he offered to re-start service if Eastern Ozarks would pay 1/4 of what it owed and would agree to pay the rest in increments. After making the offer, Dease said he has not been contacted by Eastern Ozarks.

Duke, who is employed by Correct Care, broke her contract with the company to help Dr. Jackson maintain the ER, she said.

Defending her decision, she said “Practicing medicine isn’t just a science, it’s an art. The art of taking care of human beings. Sometimes it’s got to be about the patients and not the money.”




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Fran bruce
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Fran bruce

most entryways. are boarded up

Rayelle Bishop
Guest
Rayelle Bishop

My father was stung by two wasps in his mouth and throat doing yard work. And they didn't even do anything until the last minute before he could hardy open his mouth it was so enlarged. That's what a hospital is suppsoed to be for! Emergencies!

Dentalacademy
Guest
Dentalacademy

You have shared such a informative article with us. Thank you so much and keep sharing more like this. dental academy in India

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I worked at this hospital from the day it opened until 1995 when new management took over. It was down hill from there. It used to be a thriving facility with a lot of things going for it. Unfortunately, due to poor management decisions and inadequate support systems, it went on a downward spiral into self destruction. Such a shame too because the community really needs a hospital close by.

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

Does it bother anyone else that patient files are still just hanging out? Seems like someone should burn them or something?

Jeni
Guest
Jeni

It is odd that even personal
Stuff was left behind. Sad. Does look like life just didn't exist anymore. You know they had plenty of notice it was closing.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

They actually had no notice that it was closing. Employees showed up to work that morning to find the doors locked

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

Bureaucracy at it's finest. Everything in that building could have been put to use right down to the plastic food trays and the blankets, yet there it all sits.

Luke w.
Guest
Luke w.

Its moldy because of moisture. We live in arkansas. If a building or structure is not conditioned this will happen

De Anne
Guest
De Anne

This is tragic to bear witness to all of the items rotting away that could have been of use to thousands of people. And what about the building/company owners? Why wouldn't they want to at least sell this stuff instead of letting it go to waste? I don't understand.

Marisa
Guest
Marisa

I live in this town. They never remodeled the place just been sitting there. Hardly see any police there anymore when it was first abandoned they patrolled a lot cause they had people breaking in and stealing things. It is quite sad but, the care wasn't not all that great there.

Fran bruce
Guest
Fran bruce

I like to go there and take pics. in 1 photo a spirit is visible

Dee Ann
Guest
Dee Ann

Oh, my goodness! Why was everything left to moulder?

Dorthy
Guest
Dorthy

Creepy!

Brian
Guest
Brian

So THIS is where they are putting the Ebola victims

Hailey
Guest
Hailey

NO ! Just no

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

So sad that they are just letting everything rot. There is stuff that could be giving to those less fortunate.

Tosha
Guest
Tosha

Wow I can't believe they didn't sell the equipment that could have brought a lot of money back to the properties owed expenses

Calvin
Guest
Calvin

Thats how UAMS Northwest looked before renovation.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Looks like a scene from "Walking Dead"

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

I thought they re modeled this place and opened it back up?

Shane
Guest
Shane

What a waste. Such a shame when there are clinics in big cities that could use this stuff.

Samantha M
Guest
Samantha M

Just crazy all that was left there. Thanks for sharing all these and all the other places you go. Love it when I see a post pop up its so intriguing!!

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