A group of public officials intend to develop a plan to resuscitate the De Queen, Ark., Medical Center.
Sevier County Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper appointed a temporary receiver Thursday to take control of the De Queen Medical Center.
Cooper appointed director of nursing Rachel Matheson as the receiver for the De Queen medical center.
Judge takes action on troubled De Queen hospitalRead more
The order temporarily bars hospital owners Jorge Perez and Richardo Perez from spending or transferring the facility's assets. No one represented Jorge and Richardo Perez at the hearing Thursday in De Queen. Phone calls to Jorge Perez were not answered.
The court document alleges $120,000 in unpaid county property taxes, more than $14,000 in unpaid wages and an anticipated $800,000 incoming payment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A former employee says the company owes $67,058.61 in medical claims.
"I'm happy that we're on the right track to get the hospital back up and running with local control," said Matheson, who was appointed as the hospital's administrator by Cooper.
"The hospital has a great need to be here and to be up and running for the community," said Matheson.
"We have a lot of good people and a great need to be here," she said.
"I appreciate the city and county leaders who have gone above and beyond to get the hospital back," said Matheson.
Community leaders will discuss proposals to improve the conditions of the hospital, she said.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray wants the emergency services back and running.
The Arkansas Department of Health was going to revoke the critical access license from Sevier County Friday. The receivership stopped the action, Ray said.
Economic development requires a hospital for the 17,000 patients in Sevier County. The county population is surpasses 17,000.
"Economic development has to have a hospital. Without a hospital you don't have Wan engine or vehicle," said Ray.
"Sevier County needs a great hospital. Without a great hospital, we can't have a great community," said Arkansas Cossatot Community College Chancellor Steve Cole. He also serves as the chairman of the Rural Development Authority.
The employees will discus plans to keep the hospital functioning.
"Now the employees will come up with a corrective active plan," said Cole.
De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown said the court action of granting receivership was a major hurdle.
"It was a very big hurdle to get by and a step in the right direction. It was a long process and we passed one of the most important hurdles" Brown said.
"The heroes have been the people who work at the hospital. The employees have stuck with it and without pay. I appreciate the employees who stuck with the hospital," said Brown.
Sevier County has a population of 17,000 and the people rely on the hospital which is a vital part of the community, Brown said.
"A good hospital is important to economic development," the mayor said.
"We're not going to stop until we make sure the hospital is owned locally,"Brown said. "We want to make sure it's owned locally.