Hospital Hurting

By: Jennifer Bocchieri
By: Jennifer Bocchieri

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Many rural hospitals are in big trouble. High costs and low volume are causing some rural hospitals to cut back and even close.

The South Central Kansas Regional Medical Center in Arkansas City might be the next victim.

CEO Joe Jirnec says the hospital usually only fills about 15 of its 85 beds. Low volume means less money. That, coupled with rising costs and an outdated building, means the hospital simply costs too much to operate. Lately, the hospital has been losing patients to Wichita hospitals and specialty clinics.

Jirnec says there is one chance. He's hoping financing will come through to break ground on a new $25 million building.

He says the smaller building will keep costs down overall, and help lure in outpatient procedures.

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