Owner: Local hospital could close in three or four days - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

WHITNEY

Owner: Local hospital could close in three or four days

WHITNEY, TX (KXXV) -

The future for a once troubled Lake Whitney Medical Center looked promising less than a month ago, but now the hospital has faced all kinds of financial problems that could result in its demise.

Hospital owner David Byrns says the fate of the hospital and its 75-plus employees now rests in the hands of the community.

"When I pull the trigger? It could happen soon...three or four days...unless I get an outpouring from the community with help and support there is no reason for me to stay," Byrns said.

Byrns has put nearly $200,000 into saving the hospital when he bought it on August 1st, but since then the quick turnaround hasn't been quick enough.

He says other than low census numbers there are various reasons why the hospital has a bleak future. Mainly, the funds from medicare and medicaid still haven't been transferred to him yet, even after filing the paperwork nearly a month ago.

"The normal time frame of turning that over and changing that is four to six weeks," Byrns said. "We begged them to go quicker and begged them please put us in the front of the line."

Employees say that if the hospital closes it could have a big effect on not only them but the community.

"It will have a tremendous impact because you have all the elderly that depend on the doctors here, their families are here, they have grown up here. This is the place they know where to come to for their health care," Phyllis January, Director of Nurses, said.

"I have grown up here and the hospital has been one of the mainstays around here," Business manager Marilyn Callaway added.

Byrns says he knew about some of the problems he could encounter, but he says he will continue fighting to the bitter end.

"I understand if I shut this down it will never open back up as a hospital again. I don't want to see that happen," Byrns said.

He says the back pay from medicare and medicaid will come soon, but the commitment from the town is his main concern.

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