Kennett, MO medical center closing June 11

Kennett Medical Center closing Monday, June 11
Published: Apr. 30, 2018 at 1:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2018 at 2:04 PM CDT
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Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center (Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center (Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)

KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - The Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center will soon consolidate operations with Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

According to the Kennett, Missouri city clerk's office, the medical center will close its doors on June 11, 2018. The clerk's office got the message from the CEO of the medical center. This comes almost two weeks earlier than planned.

June 30 was the previous transition date.

For residents of the area, this means the medical center in Kennett, Missouri will no longer offer inpatient, emergency room or outpatient services.

The hospital also received notice that it will no longer have obstetric/gynecologic physician coverage after May 17. This means the hospital will no longer provide planned, inpatient childbirth services after that date.

Calls to affected OB/GYN patients started on May 3 to help them transfer their care to another obstetrician and Poplar Bluff Medical Center for delivery.

Patients who are experiencing a medical emergency, childbirth-related or otherwise, can continue coming to the Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center ER for services while it remains open.

Hospital teams are trained to provide emergency medical care and, if needed, can arrange for transfer to another facility.

Physicians in Dunklin County, Missouri are planning on opening a 24-hour urgent care center together in Kennett. Advanced Patient Care Urgent Care Center is set to open on July 1, 2018.

Planning is still in process to continue access in Kennett for quality primary care and select outpatient diagnostic imaging and lab services. More than 95 percent of patients at the hospital and clinic received outpatient care last year.

Access in Kennett for quality primary care and select diagnostic imaging and lab services in the Plaza medical office building on the Twin Rivers campus is in the planning process.

The City Clerk in Kennett said this is one of the biggest employers in the area.

"As healthcare delivery evolves and medical innovation makes inpatient services less needed, consolidating operations with the larger resources of Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center became the most sustainable plan for the future," Chief Executive Officer Christian Jones.  said. "We plan to continue offering excellent outpatient care locally, which is how 95% of our patients' medical needs were provided last year."

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Jones said Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center is caring for patients who require more advanced clinical services and has the capacity to support the medical needs of patients from Kennett.

Jones will become the chief operating officer of Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center. This role is designed to support operations at Poplar Bluff in addition to retaining oversight for outpatient services in Kennett.

"Because we value these individuals and hope to retain many of them within the organization, job fairs are scheduled this week and next for our approximately 300  employees to meet with representatives of Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center to help them identify positions for which their skills might be a good fit and they can transfer," Jones said.

"More than 95 percent of the patients who received care at our hospital and clinic last year did so on an outpatient basis, and we are planning to continue quality primary care in Kennett," Jones added. "In addition to the breadth of services available at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, there are two emergency rooms within 20 miles of Kennett and two more within 30 miles, giving the community multiple options to secure medical services.

Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center released this statement on Monday, April 30:

"Healthcare is evolving rapidly and we are adapting for the future. Patients from across southeastern Missouri come to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center for advanced services. We are continuing to develop the services we offer, and our nurses, medical staff members and other employees are dedicated to providing every patient with high-quality, personalized care. Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center CEO Chris Jones is joining our hospital as chief operating officer and this will enhance our connection with the Kennett community."

Richard Peck has worked at Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center for more than 20 years.

"There was an official meeting this morning but you know the rumor mill works fast and everyone was more or less aware, just hoping for the best but it didn't happen," said Peck. "I know how this can impact you, this can impact your family it can really change the whole path of your life. Kennett has served for years and years as the medical center for this part of the Bootheel."

Kennett Mayor Bob Hancock says the news came as a shock to him as well and he understands the impact this will have on the employees

He says Kennett depends on people coming to into town and the hospital was a big part of that.

"Our tax base is sales tax, several years ago we did away with the property tax so we're dependent on people spending money in Kennett and this is going to have a huge impact," said Hancock. "Kennett will rise to the challenge."

"Oh it will resonate with restaurants and businesses and they'll be a million homes for sale," said Peck. "Something you've always heard about on the news somewhere else, and now it's us."

Mayor Hancock said he and a group of leaders will be meeting very soon to discuss options to overcome this. And, the city will also be reaching out to other hospitals to see if they would be interested in moving into town.

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