The Closing of Crittenden Regional Hospital

As of Sunday, Crittenden Regional Hospital closed its doors. From press releases to the website of Crittenden Regional Hospital, the following message is the official last word given from the CRH Board of Trustees regarding the hospital.

“In light of its deteriorating financial conditions in recent years, the all-volunteer CRH Board of Trustees, the hospital management team, with legal and financial advisors, explored many options to continue serving the West Memphis community and Crittenden County. Those options included bringing new capital and finding a hospital or health system financial partner with resources to improve CRH’s financial outlook. Despite diligent efforts, CRH was unable to identify a viable option.

Other insurmountable obstacles contributed to deteriorating financial conditions, including a fire that shut down the hospital for more than six weeks, so the tough decision was made to halt all operations at CRH and close our doors. Even with funds from a sales tax scheduled to take effect in late 2014 (which will not be implemented), CRH does not have sufficient resources to sustain its operations.”

Ironically, when one Googles “Crittenden Regional Hospital,” the first image that pops up is the following:


Hospitals-west-memphisUnfortunately, for the citizens of West Memphis, Arkansas, and Crittenden County, healthcare you “need most” isn’t closer than you think…

For these Arkansas, tax-paying citizens, they must venture out of state to find their closest hospital. Which is rather unfortunate, as an extra 10-mile trek across I-40 isn’t what I’d want to deal with when I accidentally cut off a finger or feel as if I’m having a heart attack. (In case you’ve stumbled across this article while frantically searching for your nearest hospital, the list to the right are the closest hospitals with emergency rooms, suggested by Crittenden Regional Hospital.)

When looking at the Questions & Answers section of the Crittenden Regional Hospital website, it offers the following as the answer to the main question: “How did this happen?”

“It is well known that Crittenden Regional Hospital has been searching for a solution to its financial challenges for nearly five years now. Despite best efforts to partner with a healthcare provider locally and nationally, the combination of major challenges – sweeping changes in the healthcare industry, a recovering economy and one of the toughest reimbursement climates in the nation – created mounting financial pressures upon Crittenden Regional Hospital. In addition, the hospital suffered not one but two fires, the most significant of which closed the entire facility for more than six weeks. It was a devastating blow at a time when the hospital could least afford it and ultimately resulted in its closure.”

In other Memphis area news, Wiles-Smith, an iconic pharmacy and establishment that has been in Memphis for seventy years, is closing its doors. When asked as to why, owner Charlie Smith cited “his age and falling prescription reimbursement rates as some of his reasons for closing the shop.”

What could cause both of these establishments to close their doors? Many blame Obamacare.

I reached out to Nicholas Horton, Arkansas resident and Policy Impact Specialist for the Foundation for Government Accountability, and he cites the closing of Crittenden Regional Hospital as “just another broken promise of the Arkansas ObamaCare expansion.” It isn’t just policy specialist that feel this way, but residents of the area as well. I’d love to know more about what you guys think.