On June 30th, the residents of Kennett, Missouri will lose their hospital. A consolidation of the Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center Kennett and the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center is leading to the closing of the facility. In response to this, area physicians and St. Bernards Healthcare have been working to ensure the over two-thousand residents in Kennett will not be without medical care. Two urgent care clinics will open July first. Kennett Mayor Bob Hancock says in addition to those clinics, emergency services will still be provided.
“We know that local ambulance service and that flight services will still be here in Kennett to help in providing emergency services,” says Hancock.
St. Bernards Healthcare will operate one of the urgent care facilities. The facility will be located across the street from the hospital, while some local physicians will run the other urgent care clinic. President and CEO of St. Bernards Chris Barber says the process has been moving quickly.
“We were notified shortly after the news to the leadership to that community,” says Barber. “We were asked what we could do. We sent a team up within a week to conduct a job fair and we also looked at facilities to see where we could place an urgent care clinic that could be operational in the next 30 days.”
Barber says some of the physicians who work in the emergency room in the current hospital will be used in the urgent care clinic. Mayor Hancock expects some specialists will come into town to offer their services once or twice a week to help with needs that can’t be addressed at the urgent care clinics. Hancock says the local physicians that are going to run the other urgent care facility are working with the Pemiscot Memorial Hospital in Hayti. He says the mood of Kennett is still shock and worry about what will happen in the future.
“It has impacted the community heavily because we have a lot of people in town that can’t go somewhere else. They need services here in town,” says Hancock.
Hancock says he is proud of how the town has pulled together and is thankful for the urgent care clinics that are coming. The things that will be missing to the town will be an emergency room, operating rooms, and obstetric services that would be available at a traditional hospital. The current facility is over 70 years old, which means that future plans would be for a new facility. He says county commissioners are looking at those options.
“That will be something the county would look into,” says Hancock. “The city would not have dealings with that. The commissioners would have to look at feasibility studies, what the county wants in a new hospital and how to finance such a project.”
Hancock says public meetings will be held in the very near future about how the county should proceed with the process of financing and building a new hospital.