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Jones County rural hospital closes, 23rd in Texas since 2013

August 2, 2019

HAMLIN, Texas (AP) — A rural hospital in Jones County has closed due to financial hardships, though its medical clinic and EMS services will remain.

A news release from the Hamlin Hospital District board of directors said the Wednesday closing of Hamlin Memorial Hospital’s 16,000-square-foot (1,490-sq. meter) facility means the end of inpatient, emergency room, physical therapy and Meals on Wheels services.

“Since 1948, Hamlin Memorial Hospital has had a rich history of involvement in the community, but we couldn’t have done anything without our amazing employees,” a post on the Hamlin Hospital District Facebook page said.

John Henderson, president of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, said Thursday that hospitals such as Hamlin are victims of “death by a thousand paper cuts,” the Abilene Reporter-News reported. Henderson said Texas leads the nation in rural hospital closures. Hamlin will be the 23rd closure since 2013, more than double any other state.

The hospital district was established in 1973. A new 25-bed Hamlin hospital that cost $1.8 million opened April 27, 1980, according to the newspaper. A subsequent fundraising drive netted $140,000 to buy equipment for the facility.

The news release, dated July 2, shows the board decided to close the hospital in late June in an effort to streamline services.

“Over the past many years inpatient utilization has decreased to the point that there are many days that there is no one in the hospital,” the release said.

State Republican Rep. Stan Lambert, whose district includes Jones County, said the decline is a “statewide” problem that will “continue to be a major focus for me in the next legislative session.”

The closest hospital and emergency room is in Anson, around 17 miles southeast of Hamlin.

Hamlin city leaders didn’t return the newspaper’s messages requesting comment on the future of Meals on Wheels in the community.

Stamford Healthcare System announced in July 2018 that it was ceasing hospital inpatient care and emergency room services, citing a drop in patient numbers and a failure to meet Medicare requirements, according to the newspaper. Stamford, Texas, is 20 miles east of Hamlin.


Information from: Abilene Reporter-News, http://www.reporternews.com

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