Since 2013, over 30 rural hospitals have closed nationwide with another 280 rural hospitals currently in danger of closing. This national rural health crisis is now hitting close to home. In a called meeting of the Stamford Hospital District Board of Directors on July 28th, the board heard an update on the status of rural hospitals in the United States and in Texas as well as Stamford Memorial Hospital from CEO Rick DeFoore.
DeFoore reminded that board that all three Jones County hospitals, Stamford, Hamlin and Anson have reduced staffing in the last year, and are struggling to continue to provide healthcare services with dwindling patient revenues and other financial resources.
He reported that the hospital will lose a major source of funding in late September. With this loss of funds, the hospital faces an estimated $1 million deficit for 2015 and an estimated $2.5 million deficit in 2016. Even after reducing expenses by twenty percent last July with a reduction in force, the hospital has continued to operate with a deficit. Loss of funding, government pressures to reduce hospitalizations and a continued decline in patient volumes have made it extremely difficult to continue full operations.
The board directed DeFoore to develop a plan to keep as many medical services as possible operating into the future. Specifically the board stated that because the Stamford Health Clinic provides care to thousands of patients each year this service must be continued. Additionally, since Country Elegance is currently full and operating at a breakeven that assisted living services should also continue uninterrupted.
“We regret to report the financial difficulties of Stamford Memorial Hospital, but due to the loss of our primary funding source and a continued decline in patient volumes we are faced with difficult choices in the near future.” said DeFoore. He added, “We are still exploring all options to continue to provide as many healthcare services to Stamford and Jones County residents as possible, which may involve partnering with other hospitals in our area.”