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High Plains Hospital Battles Bankruptcy

Overspending causes a Quanah hospital to file for chapter 9, but hospital officials say things are looking up.
A hospital in a small panhandle town is working to get out of chapter 9 bankruptcy.

"Ya know, not unlike a lot of small hospitals in America, expecially here in Texas, they're what I call "on fire."

According to Dave Clark, a hospital administrator for the Hardeman County Memorial Hospital in Quanah, "on fire" describes common issues for small town hospitals.

This can mean the county population going down, trouble finding good doctors, a registered nurse shortage and not handling money well, which is the main issue at the Quanah hospital.

The Quanah hospital filed back in March of 2013.

Clark says, "you know you do everything you can to try and make something work.  You try clinics, try getting new and better equipment, or you try new services, in that kind of case big hospitals can make those kinds of mistakes and overcome them.  Small hospitals cannot."

He says chapter 9 is a little different, and he sees the hospital recovering in no time.

He explains, "it's for counties and cities or hospital districts particularly that's a municipality.   So they have some protection.  We declared that in march and we are already coming out of it already in less than a year."

Clark tells us they plan to get the hospital back on back into the black by this May.

Small community hospitals having to close because of overspending and other similar issues, Clark says is nothing new for small town Texas hospitals.

In fact, according to Clark, more than 25 hospitals have closed in Texas since the early 90's 

Clark compared small community hospitals to larger hospitals, like ones right here in Amarillo.

He says smaller hospitals main focus is to serve the elderly.

He tells us there are 92 small community hospitals in the lone star state.


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