Community hospitals have been struggling across the country, so the situation that faces Huntsville Memorial Hospital is not an unfamiliar one.
In many areas of Texas, being seen by a doctor for a shattered arm or sharp chest pains probably means the nearest options is a small community hospital. Those same buildings often are the primary mental and physical health providers for many miles, offering preventive and emergency care from the cradle to the grave.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of these facilities to many in Huntsville and its surrounding counties.
The financial issues at Huntsville Memorial Hospital hits close to home for not only the hospital employees, but the community as a whole.
Public hospitals are closing across the country, with 15 rural hospitals in Texas closing their doors in the last eight years. Two hospitals in the Huntsville region have closed up shop with East Texas Medical Center in Trinity and Timberlands Hospital in Crockett each closing last year. After those closures, many citizens of those counties have became reliant upon Huntsville Memorial Hospital.
Quick access to an emergency room can be the difference between life and death, so without a Hospital in Huntsville EMS drivers would be forced to drive critical patients to Conroe or Bryan. This would be even worse for those in Trinity and San Jacinto counties, who also rely heavily on Huntsville Memorial for emergency services.
Certainly, the administration and staff have been working to make it more financially stable.
The hospital district, corporation and community need to take every step necessary to ensure that the hospital is preserved. That could be by taking steps to help the current operator get back on its feet, or by finding a new operator that will invest in the facilities and in the community.
Huntsville is a growing town, that could see its population double over the next 10 years. A thriving hospital will be vital to that growth and to the community.