ETMC not renewing lease in Clarksville

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CLARKSVILLE, TX -- In June, officials with Tyler-based East Texas Medical Center announced that after 18-years they will not renew their lease with their Clarksville location.

"No community wants to lose their hospital," said Clarksville Mayor Ann Rushing. "With every hospital comes a healthy community."

"It's critical that the county has a hospital, a full-service hospital, and that's what we're hoping that we can get back," said Red River County Judge candidate L.D. Williamson.

In a press release by ETMC it stated, "The average inpatient census for the hospital is seven, and the emergency room averages less than one patient visit per hour. This lack of utilization coupled with cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have led to unsustainable financial losses at the hospital for the past few years."

The current lease is set to expire on March 31, 2016. At that time the city of Clarksville and the over 12,000 residents of Red River County will be without a hospital.

“We are saddened to inform the community that we will not seek renewal of our lease when it expires,” said Perry Henderson, ETMC senior vice president, affiliate operations. “Unfortunately, despite strong support from the community, our providers and our hospital staff, utilization levels and declining reimbursements across the board make our continued involvement unfeasible.”

If the Red River Hospital Authority Board does not find another suitor for their hospital, residents will have to drive at least 30-miles to the nearest hospital.

"If we don't have this available to us we have to drive as far Paris or Texarkana or Tyler, it's a long way to go," said resident Terrie Hausler.

"Having the hospital go away would definitely a significant negative impact," said Clarksville Nursing Center Administrator Rob Rowley.

Rushing says a committee of the hospital authority has interviewed hospitals wanting to take over the Clarksville facility.

"I do know that they have interviewed four prospects to date," said Rushing

The committee is expected to start their second round of interviews within the next couple of weeks.